Musculoskeletal Pain – Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain Symptoms

Shoulder pain refers to any form of pain felt in the shoulder or around the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the human body, including four tendons that have the function of holding the muscle to the bone. Its complexity can create a host of painful conditions, being one of the most common reasons for visiting a doctor’s office. Studies report that over three million people a year seek medical help for shoulder and upper arm strains and sprains.

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


Shoulder Pain Causes

Due to the complexity of the region, 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 a number of other causes. These include a rotator cuff tear, which occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff separate from the joint and frozen shoulder, a condition that causes stiffness to the joint. Calcific tendonitis is a state where calcium deposits in the rotator cuff tendon, causing significant pain.

Shoulder instability or dislocation, where the top of the arm bone becomes disconnected from the scapula, is also a significant cause of musculoskeletal pain that is problematic for many people. A bicep tendon rupture occurs when the tendon of the bicep muscle ruptures near the joint.

Pinched nerves, labral tears, an SLAP lesion, angina, shingles, arthritis and referred pain are the other common causes of shoulder pain. As with any of the major joints of the body, osteoarthritis can become prevalent with age.




Shoulder Pain Treatment

If the shoulder pain is of musculoskeletal origin, in the shoulder joint itself, intra-articular injections with a steroid or injections with hyaluronic acid are usually recommended.

If the pain is caused by trigger points, commonly known as ‘knots’, in the muscle groups of the shoulder area, trigger point injections are an effective pain management treatment. Botox injections have also proved effective in trigger point pain relief around the body

Finally, if the pain is due to a condition with the suprascapular nerve that runs from the neck and through the shoulder, nerve blocks or pulsed radiofrequency can be considered.