Subarna Debbarma (BPT, DNHE)

What causes shoulder pain?
Several factors and conditions can contribute to shoulder pain. The most prevalent cause is rotator cuff tendinitis.

This is a condition characterized by swollen tendons. Another common cause of shoulder pain is impingement syndrome where the rotator cuff gets caught between the acromium (part of the scapula that covers the ball) and humeral head (the ball portion of the humerus).

Sometimes shoulder pain is the result of injury to another location in your body, usually the neck or biceps. This is known as referred pain. Referred pain generally doesn’t get worse when you move your shoulder.

Other causes of shoulder pain include:
torn cartilage
torn rotator cuff
swollen bursa sacs or tendons
bone spurs (bony projections that develop along the edges of bones)
pinched nerve in the neck or shoulder
broken shoulder or arm bone
frozen shoulder
dislocated shoulder
injury due to overuse or repetitive use
spinal cord injury
heart attack
How is the cause of shoulder pain diagnosed?
Your doctor will want to find out the cause of your shoulder pain. They’ll request your medical history and do a physical examination.

They’ll feel for tenderness and swelling and will also assess your range of motion and joint stability. Imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, can produce detailed pictures of your shoulder to help with the diagnosis.

Your doctor may also ask questions to determine the cause. Questions may include:

Is the pain in one shoulder or both?
Did this pain begin suddenly? If so, what were you doing?
Does the pain move to other areas of your body?
Can you pinpoint the area of pain?
Does it hurt when you’re not moving?
Does it hurt more when you move in certain ways?
Is it a sharp pain or a dull ache?
Has the area of pain been red, hot, or swollen?
Does the pain keep you awake at night?
What makes it worse and what makes it better?
Have you had to limit your activities because of your shoulder pain?
What are the treatment options for shoulder pain?
Treatment will depend on the cause and severity of the shoulder pain. Some treatment options include physical or occupational therapy, a sling or shoulder immobilizer, or surgery.

Your doctor may also prescribe medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can be taken by mouth or your doctor can inject into your shoulder.

If you’ve had shoulder surgery, follow after-care instructions carefully.

Some minor shoulder pain can be treated at home. Icing the shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes three or four times a day for several days can help reduce pain. Use an ice bag or wrap ice in a towel because putting ice directly on your skin can cause frostbite and burn the skin.

Resting the shoulder for several days before returning to normal activity and avoiding any movements that might cause pain can be helpful. Limit overhead work or activities.

Other home treatments include using over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce pain and inflammation and compressing the area with an elastic bandage to reduce swelling.

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