Rotator Cuff Injuries And Irritations
Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that help tether your shoulder into the socket and allow you to move it in a circular motion. Some two million people visit a doctor each year for rotator cuffrelated issues, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery . Most problems with the rotator cuff fall into two categories: tears or inflammation. Suspect a rotator cuff problem if you have pain or stiffness in your shoulder when you lift your arm above your head to brush your hair or when you reach behind your back. You won’t be able to do a lot of things you want to do, such as put dishes in an upper cabinet, play tennis, or do garden pruning.
Rotator cuff impingement. A rotator cuff impingement happens when there is irritation, inflammation, or compression of the tendons or bursa in the shoulder. An impingement can be caused by an injury, but it can also just result from general wear and tear from daily life.
Rotator cuff tears. A tear in the rotator cuff will produce pain that is similar to an impingement but has one additional differentiating feature. If the pain is associated with weakness, it is likely caused by a tear, and if you just have pain, it may only be a rotator cuff impingement.
While you may be tempted to stop moving when you experience pain from osteoarthritis, doing so can actually make the problem worse because it allows the muscles to stiffen and shorten. This may ultimately make it even harder for you to move the way you want to.
When To Get Medical Help
See a GP if you have shoulder pain that does not go away after a few weeks or is stopping you from doing your normal activities.
They’ll look at your shoulder and ask you to move your arm in different ways to see how easily you can move it and if movement makes the pain worse.
They may suggest some treatments you can try or refer you to a physiotherapist for treatment advice. You probably will not need to go to hospital for any scans.
You can also go straight to a physiotherapist without seeing a GP, but you might need to pay.
How Can I Prevent Shoulder Pain
OrthoInfo: âShoulder Pain and Common Shoulder Problems,â âRotator Cuff and Shoulder Conditioning Program.â
Cleveland Clinic: âRotator Cuff Tendonitis,â âBone Spurs,â âShoulder Tendinitis.â
American Society for Surgery of the Hand: âShoulder Pain.â
American Academy of Family Physicians: âShoulder Pain.â
Mayo Clinic: âShoulder Pain,â âRotator Cuff Injury,â âArthroscopy.â
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: âShoulder Problems.â
Arthritis Foundation: âShoulder Injuries,â âArthritis and Diseases That Affect the Shoulders.â
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: âCommon Shoulder Injuries,â âDislocated Shoulder,â âClavicle Fracture,â âShoulder Joint Tear,â âRotator Cuff Tears,â âShoulder Impingement/Rotator Cuff Tendinitis.â
Stanford Medicine: âApproach To The Exam of The Shoulder.â
Johns Hopkins Medicine: âElectromyography .â
Texas Department of Insurance: âShoulder Injury Prevention Fact Sheet.â
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics: âShoulder Injury Prevention.â
Merck Manual Home Edition.
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Shoulder Pain
There may be many causes of shoulder pain. They all have their own unique set of symptoms.
People with shoulder pain can experience pain deep in the shoulder joint, in the back or the front of the shoulder and the upper part of the arm. Sometimes the pain in the shoulder can be described as a catching pain. The location and type of pain is likely to relate to the structure causing the pain.
In some conditions there may be reduced movement, and moving the shoulder may cause you to feel pain. A feeling of weakness of the shoulder/upper arm is also common.
Depending on the condition, there may be a sensation of the joint slipping out and back in to the joint socket, or the shoulder can become completely dislodged . Some people may experience sensations of pins and needles and burning pain. This is more likely to be associated with nerves from the neck than the shoulder joint itself.
Lack of movement after a shoulder dislocation is usually due to pain. Complete rotator cuff tears and injury to the axillary nerve both cause weakness in moving the arm away from the body. These problems require close clinical examination.
When To See A Doctor
Unless youve had a serious injury or get a sudden, continuous pain, you can usually treat your shoulder pain without having to see your doctor.
If, after two weeks of treating yourself, you feel the pain isnt any better you should see your doctor or a physiotherapist.
You should also see your doctor as soon as possible if you:
- develop severe pain in both shoulders
- also have pain in your thighs
- feel feverish or unwell.
These can be signs of the condition called polymyalgia rheumatica, which needs prompt treatment.
There are several ways you can help your shoulder pain:
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Pain Around The Upper Arm And Shoulder
This happens when the pain is localized predominantly in the area of your shoulder and upper part of your humerus. The conditions that cause this can include:
- Rotator cuff disease: Initially, pain is often felt at the front of the shoulder.
- Torn rotator cuff: Tears in the rotator cuff can include pain that begins near the shoulder.
- Dislocated shoulder: Pain from a shoulder dislocation is most acutely felt near the shoulder.
- Broken collarbone: The pain from a broken collarbone can be felt close to the shoulder, particularly when you try to move your arm.
- Frozen shoulder: This type of pain typically comes on gradually and feels dull and deep.
- Calcific tendinitis: Pain due to calcific tendinitis can be severe and can come on suddenly, often in the morning.
- Shoulder sprain: You can feel pain from a shoulder sprain not only in your shoulder, but also in the area of your upper arm and collarbone.
- The pain due to a separated shoulder is felt around the shoulder and upper arm.
- Shoulder osteoarthritis and RA: People with arthritis in their shoulder often feel a deep ache in their shoulder and upper arm.
- Brachial neuritis: Pain from brachial neuritis is typically severe and most often happens in the area of the shoulder and upper arm.
- Brachial plexus injury: Pain from a brachial plexus injury can happen around the shoulder and upper arm. It may be long lasting.
What Causes Shoulder Pain Without Injury
How muscle problems can cause shoulder pain without injury.
How tendinitis causes shoulder pain without injury.
How bursitis causes shoulder pain without injury.
How arthritis causes shoulder pain without injury.
There are two types of arthritis, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, both of which can help explain why you have shoulder pain with injury. However, arthritis in the shoulder is not very common. Most people that get arthritis in the shoulder have a history of overuse or previous traumatic injury. If you fit in this category, you might want to get an X-ray to rule this out as a possibility.
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Video: Cervical Herniated Disc
A cervical herniated disc occurs when the inner portion of a disc in the cervical spineor neckruptures through the outer wall of the disc.Watch Now
A herniated disc in the cervical spine occurs when a discs outer layer tears and the inner layer starts to leak outward. A disc herniation can cause pain and may inflame a nearby nerve root that radiates pain down into the shoulder, arm, and/or hand. A disc herniation in the lower cervical spine is more likely to radiate pain into or near the shoulder blade area.1 While less common, its also possible for a disc herniation in the thoracic spine to cause pain near the shoulder blade.
What Are The Treatment Options For Shoulder Pain Without Injury
Like any treatment, the options are going to depend on the cause of the pain. With tendinitis, bursitis, and weakened rotator cuff the treatment is going to be similar. First reduce the inflammation, then strengthen the rotator cuff tendons. This can be easier said than done and does require diligence on the side of the practitioner and patient alike.
Reducing inflammation in shoulder pain without injury.
The inflammatory process is needed for our bodies to repair damaged tissue and so it can be replaced by new healthy tissue. Problems arise when the body never receives a signal to down regulate the inflammatory process. With this the body is in continuous tissue repair mode. With no tissue to repair, the healthy tissue will be attacked like it were damaged. When this happens, you end up with a chronically inflamed shoulder. Medication can both help an hinder this process.
Some medications act to stop the inflammatory process in its tracks but don’t allow the body to repair the tissue. With these the area becomes weakened and more susceptible to injury because there is no tissue repair. What you want for the injured area is a medicine that modulates the inflammatory process.
Inflammatory modulators for shoulder pain.
If you want to learn more about treatment for shoulder pain without injury or shoulder pain relief, click on the link below.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
It’s time to seek medical attention if you have new, worsening, or severe shoulder pain. Other symptoms ought to spark the same reaction:
- An injury that causes joint deformity
- Inability to carry objects or use your arm
- Inability to raise your arm
- Shoulder pain that occurs at night or while resting
- Shoulder pain that persists beyond a few days
- Signs of an infection, including fever, skin redness, and warmth
- Swelling or significant bruising around your joint or arm
- Abdominal pain or another symptom you can’t explain, which may be a sign of referred pain
Sudden shoulder pain that causes chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack. This requires immediate medical care. Shoulder pain that causes nausea can be a sign of unstable angina, a type of heart condition that also requires emergency medical care.
Things You Can Do If You Have Shoulder Impingement
- Avoid things that make the pain worse avoid activities that involve repeatedly lifting your arm above your head for a few days or weeks. Ask a GP or physiotherapist when you can restart these activities.
- Do not stop moving your arm completely try to carry on with your normal daily activities as much as possible so your shoulder does not become weak or stiff. It’s usually best to avoid using a sling.
- Gently hold an ice pack wrapped in a towel on your shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes a few times a day.
- Take painkillers anti-inflammatory painkillers or paracetamol may help. A GP can prescribe stronger painkillers if needed.
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Common Causes Of Shoulder Pain Include:
When shoulder pain occurs, it is very important to consult with a doctor as soon as possible to determine the cause of the pain. It can help to ensure rapid recovery and a full return to normal activity. Dont let shoulder pain let you down. Call West Bram Physiotherapy & Wellness to make an appointment today.
How To Ease Shoulder Pain Yourself
You usually need to do these things for two weeks before shoulder pain starts to ease, see below. It can take four to six weeks to recover fully from mild shoulder pain.
There are some things you should and shouldnt do to help ease shoulder pain. See information below for what these include.
- stay active and gently move your shoulder
- try exercises for shoulder pain do them for six to eight weeks to stop pain returning
- stand up straight with your shoulders gently back
- sit with a cushion behind your lower back
- rest your arm on a cushion in your lap
- use pain relief so you can keep moving try painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen, and heat or cold packs
- if you injure your shoulder, try a pack of frozen peas in a tea towel for 5 minutes, 3 times a day to reduce bruising of soft tissues
- if the pain starts more gradually, try a hot water bottle in a tea towel for 20 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day to ease the pain
- completely stop using your shoulder this can stop it getting better
- do things that seem to make it worse
- make up your own strenuous exercises or use heavy gym equipment
- slouch when sitting don’t roll your shoulders or bring your neck forward
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Diagnosis Of Shoulder Pain Without Injury:
Your doctor would want to understand the cause of the pain. Your medical history would be thoroughly read and inspected by the medical professional. Physical tests would then be performed on your body in order to make sure no page is left overturned. Some of the physical tests that you might be subjected to include:
Your doctor will ask you questions related to your body and the pain you are in under such questions would often include:
- Is the pain present only in a single shoulder or both?
- Can you pinpoint the precise area of the pain?
- Is the pain keeping you up at night?
- Is the pain sharp or dull?
- Is the pain still present when you are not moving?
- Have you experienced such pain before in the same area?
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Symptoms Of Shoulder Pain Without Injury:
Shoulder pain could be severe and stingy, making it extremely difficult for the patient to access full movement of their arms. In some cases, it could also be dull and achy, chronic shoulder pain is also seen in many individuals. Some of the symptoms of shoulder pain without any injury are:
- Stiffness of the shoulders
- Swelling and redness forming around the affected area
- A feeling of tenderness around the joint
- Inability to move the arm and shoulder freely.
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Posture And Sleeping Position
Holding your neck in an awkward position for a prolonged time can lead to strains in the muscles and tendons of your neck and shoulders.
Some of the postures and activities that commonly contribute to neck and shoulder pain are:
- sleeping on too high a pillow or a stack of pillows
- grinding or clenching your teeth at night
- sitting at a computer or over a phone with your neck strained forward or tilted up
- suddenly jerking your neck during exercise
Sudden Shoulder Pain Without Injury
Shoulder pain is often caused by trauma to the shoulder area which could have been the result of various actions. Shoulder pain without any injury could be because of nerve damage or arthritis, in some cases, it could also include an underlying condition that doesnt involve the shoulder directly. Pain in the left shoulder and arm is one of the common complaints patients with shoulder pain talk about.
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Symptoms Of Shoulder Impingement
Shoulder impingement can start suddenly or come on gradually.
- pain in the top and outer side of your shoulder
- pain that’s worse when you lift your arm, especially when you lift it above your head
- pain or aching at night, which can affect your sleep
- weakness in your arm
Your shoulder will not usually be stiff. If it is, you might have a frozen shoulder instead.
Read about other causes of shoulder pain.
What Are Shoulder Pain Causes And Risk Factors
Common shoulder injuries:
Other causes of shoulder pain:
- Osteoarthritis. Also called degenerative joint disease, this is the most common form of arthritis. It can affect any joint, including your shoulders. The cartilage between bones breaks down, and they rub together. This can cause pain and stiffness.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. This is a disease that causes your bodyâs immune system to attack the protective lining in your joints. It can also cause pain and stiffness in your shoulders.
- Referred pain. Sometimes your shoulders hurt when thereâs nothing wrong with them. This can be a sign of trouble with your gallbladder, liver, or another organ.
- Heart attack. If your shoulder hurts and you have trouble breathing or your chest feels tight, you might need emergency medical help right away.
- Tendinitis. This is when the tendons that make up your rotator cuff get inflamed. It can happen slowly over time or as the result of a fall or a direct hit to your shoulder.
- Bone spurs. Also known as âosteophytes,â these small, smooth pieces of bone rub up against and wear on your rotator cuff and keep your shoulder from moving the way it should. They can lead to tendinitis or a rotator cuff tear.
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