Shoulder pain is an extremely common problem with a number of different causes. In some cases, pain in the shoulder isn't caused by a problem in the shoulder joint, but by a problem in another area, such as the neck, that is felt in the shoulder and upper back. Some common causes include:
•Frozen shoulder – also called 'adhesive capsuliitis' this is a painful condition that reduces normal movement in the joint and can sometimes prevent movement in the shoulder. It is a common condition that leads to stiffness of the joint.
•Rotator cuff disorders – occur when the tendons of the rotator cuff - a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint and help to keep it stable - separate from the bone.
•Shoulder instability – is a problem that causes a loose joint. Instability can be caused by a traumatic injury (dislocation), or may be a developed condition.
•Acromioclavicular joint disorders – conditions, including osteoarthritis that affect the acromioclavicular joint, which is the joint at the top of the shoulder.
•Calcific tendonitis is a condition of calcium deposits within a tendon -- most commonly within the rotator cuff tendons.
If you are unsure of the cause of your shoulder pain, some signs that you should be seen by a doctor include:
•Inability to carry objects and use or raise the arm
•Injury that causes deformity of the joint
•Shoulder pain that occurs at night or while resting
•Shoulder pain that persists beyond a few days
•Swelling or significant bruising around the joint or arm
It is important to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms so that appropriate treatment can be directed at the cause. Avoiding activities that may aggravate your symptoms will also help. Depending on the cause of your shoulder pain, you may need further treatment, such as:
•Rest: The first treatment for many common conditions that cause shoulder pain is to rest the joint, and allow the acute inflammation to subside.
•Physiotherapy: Physical therapists use different modalities to increase strength, regain mobility, and help return patients to their pre-injury level of activity.
•Anti-Inflammatory Medication: Some of the most commonly prescribed medications, especially for patients with shoulder pain caused by problems such as arthritis, bursitis, and tendonitis.
•Cortisone injections: Cortisone is a powerful medication that treats inflammation, which is a common problem in patients with shoulder pain.
• Surgery is sometimes necessary for shoulder pain.