All You Should Know About Shoulder Pain
Your shoulder plays a great role and has a wide range of motion. When someone has a shoulder injury, it also affects their posture and health. You must understand how the shoulder works before we get into more details.
How Does A Shoulder Work?
The shoulder is a ball and a socket joint with three main bones. These are:
- the humerus or the long arm bone
- the scapula or shoulder blade. This one has layers of cartilage that cushions these joints.
- the clavicle, i.e., your collar bone
The shoulder can move up and down, turn in circles, and move away from the body, making it one of the most mobile joints.
What Causes Shoulder Pain?
Several problems and conditions may cause shoulder pain in individuals. For instance, rotator cuff tendinitis is a common cause of shoulder pain. Patients experience swollen shoulder tendons, which cause inflammation and pain in the shoulder joints. Other patients may also experience conditions where a part of their shoulders hurts because of getting stuck in between joints.
What is the Rotator Cuff?
The shoulders get their range of motion from the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff consists of four tendons essentially. These tendons connect the bone to the muscle in the shoulder and provide it with the flexibility for common tasks. If you are wondering what causes rotator cuff problems, there is not a simple answer to it.
You can injure your rotator cuff during physical labor, playing games, or by wrong repetitive movements. It becomes nearly impossible to move your shoulder if you damage your rotator cuff and can take a long time to heal. You may also have to deal with problems because of certain diseases. Cervical spine diseases, lungs, gall bladder, and heart diseases can all contribute to this issue.
Does All Shoulder Pains Result from an Injury?
Interestingly, not all shoulder pains are because of direct shoulder injuries. A tear in other areas such as the neck, biceps, or arms can also cause pain in the shoulder. Other common reasons why people may experience shoulder pain are as follows:
- Arthritis: Arthritis is a medical condition that causes pain and inflammation in joints and can have several after-effects.
- Torn cartilage: People may also experience pain in their shoulders because of a torn cartilage (a soft bone between joints that acts as a cushion for comfortable bone movement).
- Torn rotator cuff: The shoulder cuff might also get injured, impacting the overall mobility and range of motion in the shoulder.
- Swollen bursa sacs or tendons: Tendons swell up over time, which makes it harder to move the shoulder freely. Although muscle tendons heal up completely, it takes time.
- Bone spurs: The body starts developing bony spurs along the bone lining, causing intense pain.
- A pinched nerve in the neck or shoulder: An individual may also experience shoulder pain because of nervous complications. A pinched shoulder or neck nerve can inflict pain in the shoulder.
- Broken shoulder or arm bone: Fractures are one of the most common reasons for long-term shoulder pain in patients.
- Frozen shoulder: The strong connective tissues around the shoulder can become stiff, which may cause limited movement in the shoulder, also called a frozen shoulder.
- Dislocated shoulder: The shoulder is a ball in a socket, as we mentioned before. This ball can move from its place due to sudden accidents or trauma causing bone dislocation.
- Injury due to overuse or repetitive use: overtraining and overuse can also cause shoulder pain in the human body.
- Spinal cord injury: The spinal cord is the base of the human body and connects to the collar bone, arms, and every vital part. A spinal cord injury may also cause pain in the shoulder.
- Heart attack: Heart attacks occur due to poor cardiovascular health. But the patient may also experience shoulder pain during and after a heart attack.
How to Diagnose Shoulder Pain?
The method of diagnosis is quite complex since there are so many causes of shoulder pain. Health experts can suggest the best way to get a precise diagnosis of your shoulder pain. Doctors may ask for your tests, reports, and history related to the injury when assessing your shoulder pain. A physical examination might include checking the mobility, range of motion, and swelling in the shoulder muscles.
Imaging testing such as X-rays or MRIs is another good option to get a clearer picture of the reasons for the shoulder pain. The doctor may also inquire you about several things such as:
- If the pain exists in one or both shoulders
- If the pain begins suddenly and what they were doing when this pain occurred
- Does the pain stay in one place or move around in other parts of the body?
- If the patient can pinpoint the location of the pain
- If it hurts all the time or only when they move
- The intensity of the pain
- If the area is red, hot, or has swelling in it
- Does the pain occur at night and keeps the patient up
- If the patient knows what makes the pain better or worse
- If the shoulder pain limits the movement and activities of the patient
Thus, diagnosis for shoulder pain can be quite complex, but you can figure things out with professional assistance. Remember, the longer you ignore your shoulder pain, the harder it will be for the experts to address your problem.
The health experts can suggest surgical and non-surgical solutions to shoulder pain, depending on your case. Exercises are also helpful with a torn rotator cuff and similar shoulder pain.
Do Exercises Actually Help A Torn Rotator Cuff?
Physical therapy is a great way to deal with these kinds of rotator cuff injuries. Exercises on a regular basis can help improve shoulder cuff injuries and minimize the symptoms as well. However, you should know that these kinds of injuries may take some time to recover.
It is best to consult with a professional physical therapist or expert for rotator cuff tears, but you can also help yourself at home. There are many exercise options that you can consider if you want to manage shoulder pain or rotator cuff tears. Some of these include pendulum swing, standing row, crossover swings, etc.
Can you Immediately Feel A Rotator Cuff Tear?
People may experience shoulder injuries differently; some of them may feel pain in their shoulder muscle or a locking, catching sensation. There is also a possibility that you hear a popping sound in your shoulder joint when you have a serious shoulder injury. It is best to seek professional help as you will feel a rotator cuff tear immediately.
So, it is clear that shoulder pain is a common condition and may occur due to multiple reasons. There is no absolute solution for the problem as it may differ from person to person. However, reaching out to a professional at the right time will help you deal with this shoulder pain sooner. We hope that this guide helped you understand things better; feel free to reach out to us (click here now) if you have further questions or just want to learn more.