Shoulder Pain


Shoulder Pain refers to any form of pain felt in the shoulder or around the shoulder joint.

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body. This particular joint includes four tendons, having the function of holding the muscle to the bone.

Any swelling, inflammation, tearing or bony changes around these tendons causes pain when a person tries to move the arm upwards, backwards, straight out or in the front.

Shoulder pain is one of the most common reasons for visiting the physician’s office. Studies report that a massive 3.7 million people sought medical help for shoulder and upper arm strains and sprains in the year 2003.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

Accurate diagnosis of the cause of shoulder pain is crucial to effective treatment. The most common cause for shoulder pain is bursitis or rotator cuff tendonitis. Shoulder pain might also occur due to one of the below listed common causes:

1. Rotator Cuff Tear: This occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff separate from the bone.

2. Frozen Shoulder: This condition causes stiffness of the joint.

3. Calcific Tendonitis: This is a state of calcium deposits with a tendon, commonly with the rotator cuff tendon.

4. Shoulder instability: Caused by an injury, this state leads to a loose joint.

5. Shoulder dislocation: This injury happens when the top of the arm bone becomes disconnected from the scapula.

6. Biceps Tendon Rupture: This occurs when the tendon of the biceps muscle ruptures near the joint.

Pinched nerve, labral tear, SLAP Lesion, angina, shingles, arthritis and referred pain are the other common causes of shoulder pain.

Diagnosis of Shoulder pain

Your health care provider will take the following measures to diagnose the specific cause of your back pain:

1) Interview of the patient regarding detailed medical history, along with specific details on origin of pain.

2) Physical examination, such as looking for deformities, swelling, muscle weakness, tender areas and observing range of shoulder motion.

3) X-ray studies, CT (Computerized tomography) scan, EMG (electromyogram).

4) Arthroscopy (surgical procedure)5) MRI and ultrasounds

Therapeutic Remedies

A) Medications

Various forms of medications are prescribed for the relief from shoulder pain, depending upon the intensity, cause and duration of the pain. A few amongst them are:

· Anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs)

· Cortisone injections

· Acetaminophen/ Paracetamol (Tylenol)

· Celebcoxib (Celebrex)

· Inuprofen/ Ibuprofen (Asdvil, Motrin)

· Naproxen (Naprosyn, Naprelan)

· Analgesics, Antipyretics

B) Exercises

Exercises are prescribed with the purposes of:

1) Improvement in range of motion 2) Rotator cuff strengthening 3) Upper extremity strengthening

C) Home Care

Certain home care remedies also provide help for shoulder pain. The most helpful ones are:

1) Ice packs: Applying ice packs at a regular interval of 15 minutes over several hours in a day, over 2 to 3 days often seems to help.

2) Rest: For a few days, take a total break from all strenuous activities, especially those causing the pain.

3) Medication: Ibuprofen may help for immediate relief from inflammation and pain if your medical history allows you to take this particular medicine.

Frozen Shoulder information resources and case reports

Links for Frozen Shoulder