Do you suffer from shoulder pain and have questions about what could be causing your pain?
In last week’s shoulder pain article, we talked about how common shoulder pain is, and touched on some of the activities that are affected by shoulder problems.
- This week we will talk about the possible causes of your shoulder pain.
- Muscular Sprains and Strains:By far the most common cause of short-term shoulder pain is muscle sprains and strains, particularly the muscles of the rotator cuff. Muscular sprains and strains are usually caused by heavy lifting, participating in sports where you throw objects, or a person who is beginning to participate in more activities than they are used to – such as cleaning up the yard, beginning an exercise plan, etc.
- Labrum Tear:Did you know that the main joint in the shoulder is a ball and socket? One of the reasons the shoulder is so flexible is that the socket is relatively small allowing the ball to move around more. The outer lip of the socket is made up of cartilage and is called the labrum. The labrum can become damaged by a traumatic injury such as a car wreck or a collision during a football game. In severe cases the ball can dislocate from the socket causing damage to the labrum. Over time the labrum can detach from the socket causing instability in the shoulder – surgery and rehabilitation may be required to resolve issues caused from labrum tears.
- Impingement:Impingement is when some of the muscles of the rotator cuff get squeezed between two bones in the shoulder. Over time this can cause fraying of the tendons and even a tear in the rotator cuff. In many cases this can be resolved with physical therapy to improve flexibility and movement patterns of the shoulder – thus preventing pinching. In other cases, surgery can be required to relieve the pressure you are experiencing and allow the joint to work properly.
- Arthritis/Arthrosis:As joints get older, the structures that make up the joint: cartilage, bone, and ligaments, all tend to deteriorate. In mild cases this will not cause any pain but could result in some stiffness and loss of flexibility. In some cases, however it can cause pain, grinding, swelling, tightness, and weakness. This may require surgical repair for some patients suffering from arthritis/arthrosis.
- Inflammatory Diseases:Some diseases can cause inflammation that is not related to an injury. Examples of these are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn’s disease. In an acute flare up, conservative care can relieve symptoms, but it is also important to stay active as possible to keep the joint healthy
One of the unexpected things about shoulder pain is that some of the possible causes of our pain can be visible on an x-ray or MRI, but some cause are not able to been seen through these methods. To add to the confusion, sometimes an x-ray can show features like degeneration or bone spurs that may take years to develop, but the patient has only had pain for a very short time.
To get a good idea of where the pain is coming from, it is important to examine (among other things) movement, strength and postural imbalances. In some cases, this is all that needs to be addressed, meaning that shots, pain medication, and surgery may not be required to make a full recovery.
In next week’s article, we will talk about why your shoulder pain could be worsening.
Do you have questions about Avala Physical Therapy or one of its programs? Call and schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Physical Therapist experts today at 985.801.6265.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found something useful in this week’s article. Check in next week for more tips and tricks on how to get healthy and stay that way.Paul Jones, Director of Physical Therapy/Rehabilitation Services
Avala Physical Therapy