Shoulder Pain Relief

Shoulder pain can be … well … a pain. Luckily, our integrated physical rehab team specializes in diagnosing and treating should pain issues of all kinds.

Shoulder Pain Relief​

Shoulder pain can be … well … a pain. Luckily, our integrated physical rehab team specializes in diagnosing and treating should pain issues of all kinds.

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain can be attributed to several conditions and factors. Most commonly, patients experiencing shoulder pain suffer from rotator cuff tendinitis, which is a condition involving swollen tendons. Another very common cause of shoulder pain is when the rotator cuff gets caught between the part of the scapula that covers the ball of the shoulder (acromion) and the ball of the humerus (humeral head). This condition is known as impingement syndrome.

Often times pain in the shoulder is related to some form of injury in another location on your body, it is common to see the shoulder effected by the bicep and neck. This type of pain is called “referred pain”, the hallmark of referred pain in the shoulder is that pain does not usually intensify when moving the shoulder.

People with shoulder conditions often have difficulty performing daily tasks without pain.

According to Health Line, the most common causes of shoulder pain include:

  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Torn cartilage
  • Arthritis
  • Spinal cord trauma
  • Heart attack
  • Swollen bursa sacs or tendons
  • Injury resulting from repetitive use or overuse
  • Bone spurs
  • Pinched nerves
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Shoulder dislocation

Anatomy Of The Shoulder

Most people think of the shoulder as a single unit, when it fact it is really made up of several joints combined with tendons and muscles which give the shoulder its large range of motion. This range of motion is what allows us to do tasks such as throwing a football hand washing the dishes.

The three main bones that make up the shoulder are; collarbone, known as the clavicle; upper arm bone, known as the humerus; shoulder blade, also referred to as the scapula. 

A socket, called the glenoid, is the spot where the head (top) of the upper arm bone fits into the rounded socketed of the shoulder blade. There is also many muscles and tendons that run through this glenoid socket, whose job it is to keep your arm centered within the shoulder socket. All together, these are known as the rotator cuff, which attaches the head of the upper arm bone to the shoulder blade. The rotator cuff is responsible for the shoulders large range of motion and is also one of the most commonly injured part of the shoulder.

Diseases and Conditions Of The Shoulder

Due to the complexity of the shoulder, there are many typical conditions that can lead to pain symptoms. According to Ortho Info data, as well as our rehab teams experience at South Pointe Healthcare, the following are some of the most common shoulder conditions. 

Bursitis

Bursitis is a common shoulder condition that effects the bursae, which are small fluid filled sacs that can be found in joints all throughout the body. Their job is to act as a cushion between the overlaying soft tissue and the bones, to help reduce friction during movement between the bone and the muscle gliding around it.

Bursitis can occur as a result of excessive use of the shoulder. This causes swelling and inflammation of the bursae sacs that are located in the shoulder. The technical term for this condition is “subacromial bursitis”.

This condition of the shoulder often occurs with other dysfunctions, such as rotator cuff tendinitis. This causes painful inflammation of the shoulder tissues, and as a result daily activities such as brushing teeth and shampooing hair can become difficult due to pain.

Tendinitis

Tendinitis is a common condition that occurs when there is inflammation in the tendon that connects bone to muscle.

Generally speaking, tendinitis presents itself in two common forms:

  • Wear and tear caused from overhead throwing (such as baseball pitching), or overhead activities at work (reaching for boxes above the head)
  • Degenerative disease such as arthritis

Although the shoulder has multiple tendons that run through it, the most commonly effected ones with tendinitis are the four tendons of the rotator cuff, and one of the tendons form the bicep. Because the rotator cuff tendons are partially responsible for the range of motion in the shoulder, this condition often leads to chronic shoulder pain if left untreated. 

Impingement

Another common condition that reduces the range of movement in the shoulder is impingement. This occurs when the acromion (top of the shoulder blade), puts pressure on the soft tissues beneath it as the arm is lifted away from the body. 

The impingement occurs when the arm is lifted, because the acromion rubs on both the rotator cuff tendons and bursa, which can also lead to other shoulder conditions such as tendinitis and bursitis while limiting range of motion. 

Arthritis

With hundreds of varying types, arthritis is one of the most common chronic conditions suffered by Americans. Osteoarthritis, which is a result of wear and tear on the joints over time, is the most common type of arthritis the effects the shoulder joint. If left untreated, arthritis is a source of chronic shoulder pain, with symptoms including pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint typically develops in middle aged patients, and paint will slowly increase over time.

Often times, osteoarthritis can be related to work, sports injuries and wear and tear over time. Other types of arthritis that an effect the shoulder is a result of infection, rotator cuff tears and joint inflammation. 

A common side effect that is seen in people with shoulder arthritis is tightening and stiffening of surrounding muscles, due to intentionally restricted movement in an attempt to lessen pain symptoms.

Frozen Shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

The term frozen shoulder is widely known, but what exactly is it?

Frozen shoulder occurs when the capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint tightens, which inhibits range of movement. Although this is a common source of pain, doctors do not always know the exact cause of frozen shoulder is on a per patient basis. Doctors have found that it can be a result of a stroke or heart attack and is also more common in people who are diabetic and cannot produce insulin.

Frozen shoulder will resolve itself over time, but without professional help it can take up to three years to regain your range of movement. 

Patients with frozen shoulder often feel sudden muscle spasms at night, and if alternative treatments are no longer effective, may rely on painkillers until it subsides. 

One of the most effective treatments for frozen shoulder is the use of injections. The injections are part of a treatment known as volume hydro dilation. This involves a steroid injection into the shoulder, which may be painful at first, but many patients with frozen shoulder report significantly improved symptoms afterwards. 

How Can I Prevent Shoulder Pain?

Health Line mentions that some of the most effective prevention techniques for people with shoulder pain involves exercises and stretches that are designed to stretch and strengthen muscles and rotator cuff tendons. 

Fortunately, at South Pointe Healthcare, we an expert have a physical therapy and chiropractic team that can show you exactly what stretches, and exercises will be the most effective for each specific case. 

When people with should pain already have been diagnosed with a condition such as tendinitis or bursitis, doctors recommend performing range of movement exercises regularly to avoid developing frozen shoulder. 

How Is Shoulder Pain Diagnosed?

According to Ortho Info, some of the most common tests to determine shoulder pain and chronic shoulder pain issues are:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An MRI is an imaging technique that can help doctors identify injuries to tendons and ligaments.

 

  • X-rays: If injured bones are suspect, x-ray imaging may be used to assess the extent of the injuries.

 

  • Electrical Studies: If nerve function issues may be present, your doctor may order a test such as an electromyogram (EMG).

 

  • CT Scan: Combining x-rays with computer technology, to show a highly detailed view of bones in the shoulder.

 

  • Arthoscopy: Using an arthoscopic camera, doctors can look inside of the jonit to reveal soft tissue injuries that may have been overlooked in the physical examination.

What Are Treatment Options For Shoulder Pain?

Treatments will always be dependent on each individual’s case, in regard to the type and severity of shoulder issues. People with shoulder pain usually rely on physical therapy, and in extreme cases surgery may be the best option to reduce pain. 

At South Pointe Healthcare our chiropractors have years of experience in diagnosing and treating shoulder pain from many different sources. In most cases, a combination of chiropractic care, medical massage, and manual therapies show vast improvement in our patients

FAQ's

At South Pointe Healthcare, we take insurance for all of our physical rehabilitation related specialties. 

Please give us a call at (303) 665-8444 to find out more about pricing for your specific insurance plan.

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