The shoulder is a structurally complex and functionally versatile body part. If not treated, stiffness and pain in the shoulder can impair normal movements making it difficult to carry out regular activities. Specialists at CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center offer the best care and interventional pain management in Olney, MD, for patients experiencing shoulder pain.
Understanding the structure and function of the shoulder
The shoulder is a type of ball-and-socket joint that connects three bones:
- The humerus, which is also known as the long arm bone
- The clavicle, also known as the collarbone
- The scapula, which is also known as the shoulder blade
Two joints are connecting the three prominent shoulder bones:
- The acromioclavicular joint, which is found between the clavicle and the scapula
- The glenohumeral joint (also known as the shoulder joint) connecting the humerus and the scapula
The rotator cuff gives the shoulder a broad and diverse range of motion, allowing forward and backward movement of the arm’s shoulder and circular motion.
Conditions that can cause shoulder pain
Different conditions can cause shoulder pains, including:
- Rotator cuff tendinitis: Rotator cuff tendinitis is the leading cause of shoulder pain. Tendons are tissues that connect your muscles to your bones. When rotator cuff tendons are overused, they can swell and break down, causing pain.
- Impingement syndrome: Impingement syndrome is a condition that occurs when the rotator cuff gets caught between the acromion and humeral head.
- Bursitis: Bursitis is the swelling of the fluid-filled sacs cushioning your shoulder joint (bursa). This condition makes the movement of the shoulder difficult and painful.
- Instability: Instability of the shoulder is caused by overstretched or torn shoulder ligaments. This condition makes lifting and rotation movements of your shoulder difficult and painful.
- Arthritis: Arthritis is a condition that affects cartilage. Breaking down of cartilage in the shoulder joint can lead to stiffness and pain.
- Referred pain: Referred pain is shoulder pain caused by trauma to another body part like the neck or biceps.
Diagnosis of shoulder pain
Diagnosis of shoulder pain is essential as it helps your doctor understand the treatment option that will best work for you. To find the root cause of your pain, your health care provider will conduct a physical examination to understand your condition’s severity. Physical examination for shoulder pain usually involves your doctor feeling your shoulder to detect swelling and tenderness.
Your doctor will ask you to move your shoulder in different motions to evaluate your limitations and understand your shoulder joint stability. Sometimes imagining tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, are required to provide your shoulder images. Your doctor will also review your medical history to determine whether other underlying conditions may be causing your pain.
Treatment options for shoulder pain
Shoulder pain treatments will depend on the diagnosed cause and severity of your condition. Your doctor may recommend the following treatment options to help relieve shoulder pain:
- Exercises and stretches
- Physical or occupational therapy, including the use of a sling or shoulder immobilizer
- Medications such as anti-inflammatory medications and corticosteroids
- Home treatments such as hot and cold therapy
- Soft tissue therapy
Do not let shoulder pain hinder you from accomplishing your goals. Contact CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center today to get the best care for shoulder pain.