Shoulder pain is a common medical malady that affects millions of people worldwide. It can range from mild to severe and can be caused by a variety of factors.
Although this condition is not life-threatening, it is essential to understand the root causes of shoulder pain for its effective management and treatment.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the causes of shoulder pain and its diagnosis, management, and treatment options.
We will also discuss exercise options to relieve shoulder pain and some key prevention tips.
Common causes of shoulder pain
The shoulder is a complex joint that allows for a wide range of motion. Its design and function, unfortunately, make it susceptible to injury and pain.
Three major bones make up the shoulder joint. These are:
- The upper arm bone (humerus)
- The shoulder blade (scapula)
- The collarbone (clavicle).
Ligaments, tendons, and muscles join these bones and work together to allow movement.
The rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons, is responsible for stabilizing the shoulder joint.
Shoulder Pain Factors
Shoulder Pain Symptoms
Shoulder pain can manifest in different ways, depending on the underlying cause. Common symptoms of shoulder pain include:
How to Diagnose Shoulder Pain
In order to identify the underlying cause of shoulder pain, the doctor will perform a physical examination on the patient.
They may also order imaging tests, such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. Depending on a case-to-case basis, a diagnostic injection may also be applied to determine the source of pain.
Shoulder pain management and treatment options
Managing shoulder pain can be summarized in four letters: R-I-C-E.
This easy-to-remember acronym stands for rest, ice, compress, and elevation.
By applying rest, ice, and proper compression to the shoulder, pain and discomfort can be alleviated.
Over-the-counter pain medication can also help relieve mild to moderate pain.
Physical therapy may be recommended to strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve the range of motion.
In severe cases, the doctor may recommend surgery.
The treatment options for shoulder pain largely depend on the cause of the condition.
In some cases, conservative measures such as rest, physical therapy, and medication may be sufficient.
In other cases, more invasive treatments such as injections or surgery are necessary.
Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses your specific needs.
3 Exercises You Must Perform
Certain doctor-recommended exercise techniques can relieve shoulder pain. These include:
Important Shoulder Pain Prevention Tips
Preventing shoulder pain involves taking steps to protect the shoulder joint and avoid injury.
For example, when lifting a heavy object, it is important to squat down and use your legs - not the back or shoulders - to lift the object off of the ground.
You should bend your knees and keep your back upright, shoulders back, and your head looking straight ahead.
Make sure that you hold the heavy object as close to your body as possible and never, under any circumstances, try to lift a heavy object above your shoulders, or with your arms extended outwards.
Maintaining good posture at all times is also an effective way of preventing injuries.
A good posture allows a person to work more efficiently with less fatigue and less strain on the muscles, ligaments, and joints.
Plus, it helps improve self-esteem and makes you look confident.