By Medicover Hospitals / 12 Jan 2021
Physical discomfort in the shoulder, including the joint itself or the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the joint. Shoulder pain can have causes that are not due to an underlying disease. Examples include overuse, disuse, sprain, strain, or side sleep.
- What is shoulder pain?
- When to visit a Doctor?
What is shoulder pain?
Shoulder pain can come from the shoulder joint itself or one of the many surrounding muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Shoulder pain that comes from the joint usually gets worse with activities or movements of your arm or shoulder.
Shoulder pain is also caused by several diseases and conditions affecting the structure in the chest or abdomen, like cardio diseases or gallbladder diseases. Shoulder pain that comes from another structure is called referred pain. The referred shoulder pain usually does not get worse when you move your shoulder.
|Shoulder pain sign
|Pain and stiffness that will not fade over months or years.
||frozen shoulder, arthritis
|Pain often worse when using your arm or shoulder
||tendonitis, bursitis, conflict
|Tingling, numbness, faintness, clicking or locking sensation
||shoulder instability, sometimes due to hypermobility
|Sudden, very intense pain, unable to move the arm, sometimes changes shape
||dislocated shoulder, broken bone (like upper arm or collarbone), torn or ruptured tendon
|Pain on the top of the shoulder
||problems in the acromioclavicular joint, such as a dislocation or stretched or torn ligaments
- Most shoulder problems only affect a small area and should last for a relatively short time.
- But sometimes your shoulder problem can be part of a larger, long-term condition such as osteoarthritis or rheumatic polymyalgia.
- It is quite common for people with rheumatoid arthritis to experience pain and swelling in their shoulders.
- Osteoarthritis is less likely to affect your shoulders than other joints unless you have injured them in the past.
- There are many other possible causes of shoulder pain, like:
- Inflammation, where your shoulder becomes warm, red, swollen, and painful like a natural response to an infection or injury.
- Muscles and tendons in the shoulder are damaged.
- tension in the muscles between the neck and shoulder, which is usually due to your posture in your upper back or neck, and is often related to the way you stand or sit when using a computer or at work
- inflammation of the bursa, a cushion filled with fluid that normally helps muscles and tendons glide smoothly over the shoulder bones
- damage to bones and cartilage, which can be caused by arthritis
- It is also possible that the pain you are feeling in your shoulder is coming from a problem in another part of your body, such as your neck.
- Problems in your neck can make your shoulder blade or upper outer arm sore. When this happens, it is referred to as referred pain or radiated pain. If you experience a tingling sensation in your hand or arm, as well as pain in your shoulder, it is likely due to a problem with your neck.
- Your physician will want to find out the cause of your shoulder pain. They will ask you for your medical history and perform a physical exam.
- They will feel the tenderness and swelling and will also assess your range of motion and the stability of your joints. Imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, can produce detailed images of your shoulder to aid in the diagnosis.
- Your physician may also ask questions to determine the cause. Questions may include:
- Is the pain in one shoulder or both?
- Did this pain start suddenly? If so, what were you doing?
- Does the pain travel to other areas of your body?
- Can you identify the area of pain?
- Does it hurt not to move?
- Was the painful area red, hot, or swollen?
- Does pain keep you from sleeping at night?
- Have you had to limit your activities because of your shoulder pain?
- A doctor will examine you to determine what is causing your shoulder pain.
- They may send you tests (like an x-ray) to check the cause.
- They will suggest treatment depending on the cause, for example:
- stronger medicine or injections to relieve pain and swelling
- physiotherapy or exercises to do at home
- things to avoid to keep the pain from getting worse or coming back
- see a specialist for tests or treatment
When to visit a Doctor?
Have someone drive you to emergency care or the emergency room if your shoulder pain is caused by an injury and is accompanied by:
Make an appointment with your doctor if your shoulder pain is accompanied by:
- A seal that looks distorted
- Unable to use the joint or keep the arm away from the body
- Intense pain
- Sudden swelling
- Tenderness and warmth around the joint
To relieve mild shoulder pain, you can try:
- Pain relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), and naproxen sodium (Aleve) can help.
- Rest: Avoid using your shoulder in a way that causes or worsens pain.
- Ice: Apply an ice pack to your painful shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day.
- Often, self-care measures and a little time can be all it takes to relieve your shoulder pain.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Cardio disease, gallbladder disease, and liver disease can all cause shoulder pain this way. Nervous pain may cause tingling, numbness, tingling, and needles in the shoulder. The area of the body it affects often changes or gets larger over time.
Most cases of shoulder pain are not caused by anything serious and will improve within 2 weeks. You can take pain relievers for pain relief.
Here are some tips for a comfortable way to sleep:
- Use two pillows with the upper pillow offset slightly towards the back of the lower pillow.
- Try to lie on your side or your back.
- Squeeze a pillow, as this will put your upper shoulder in the open position.
But if you have general, mild shoulder pain, try adjusting your activities, taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and doing light stretching to see if the pain improves on its own. However, if the pain does not go away after a few weeks, you should see your doctor.
Shoulder Pain - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1521694202001018
Measuring shoulder function with the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index - https://europepmc.org/article/med/7791172
Development of a Shoulder Pain and Disability Index - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/art.1790040403
Acupuncture for shoulder pain - https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005319/abstract