Shoulder conditions can be tough to deal with and cause a great deal of stress, especially if you’re having pain when trying to sleep, take off your t-shirt, or dry the laundry. We are dependent on our shoulders for many activities throughout our daily lives, and shoulder pain can be debilitating and disruptive. Besides fractures that require immediate attention and care, there are other shoulder injuries or conditions that can result in persistent pain. Let’s take a look at some conditions that may be causing your constant shoulder pain:
Causes of Shoulder Pain
1. Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder is indicated by a loss of motion in the shoulder joint. Frozen shoulder starts with the freezing stage where there’s a significant amount of pain but there is also some range of shoulder movement. It then develops with more movement restriction and stiffness but the pain reduces at this stage. Eventually after a period of worsening symptoms, the thawing stage will see a frozen shoulder getting better with an improvement in motion. There are not clear indications of what makes a person more susceptible to frozen shoulder, however, conditions like diabetes have an increased risk factor.
2. Rotator Cuff Injury
Rotator cuff conditions are common and can range from rotator cuff tendinitis to a rotator cuff tear. Tendinitis is the irritation and inflammation of tendons and cuff muscles that keep your shoulder joint moving. It can occur over time such as keeping your shoulder in a particular position for a prolonged period such as when sleeping, or by repetitive overhead movements from work or house chore movements, or sports activities like tennis and baseball. Rest and treatment of inflammation at home can help to reduce rotator cuff tendinitis. A partial or complete rotator cuff tear requires professional treatment as it is more severe and can cause intense pain or further damage.
3. Shoulder Tendinitis / Impingement
Shoulder tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon that can cause pain and tenderness. Tendinitis, or tendonitis, can occur in any tendon within the body. Beside the shoulders, it also occurs in the elbows, wrists and heels. Tendinitis can show up with repeated shoulder impingement, or rotator cuff injury. The rotator cuff tendon becomes swollen and inflamed over time and leads to either acute or chronic shoulder tendinitis.
Acute shoulder tendinitis happens suddenly, usually by aggravating overhead activities, and repetitive or sports injury. Chronic shoulder tendinitis is typically caused by long term repetitive wear and tear or degenerative diseases like arthritis. As we get older, our tendons become less flexible, making them more prone to injury. Those who perform work or house chores that involve repetitive motion are also at increased risk. Tendinitis is also common in those involved in sporting activities or professional athletes, with sports like tennis, swimming, basketball, golf, and bowling having more risk.
4. Shoulder Bursitis
Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa. Bursa are structures similar to sacs locations where there’s friction in the body such as between tendons and bones. When there’s too much friction and stress, the bursa becomes irritated and inflamed. This leads to bursitis, including in the shoulders. There are chronic and traumatic bursitis, with symptoms including pain, redness, swelling and increased warmth at the injured area. At times, bacterial infection can also occur in the bursa. This is known as an infected bursitis. It can be difficult to distinguish between an infection with bacteria present, and an inflammation where there’s no infection. As such, you should see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis.
Choose Professional Care for Your Shoulder Pain
Shoulder pain from any of these conditions can cause pain, and a disruption of daily activities and work or sports. It is common to try and treat any initial onset of shoulder pain at home. To reduce inflammation and pain, you may try taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication or using an anti-inflammatory cream. You can also try the RICE method of injury treatment to rest, ice, compress and elevate the injured area. While mild occurrences of tendinitis and bursitis may heal on their own in 6-8 weeks with plenty of rest and at-home treatments, rotator cuff tears can differ in size of the tear and may result in a secondary tear if left untreated.
When the shoulder pain and injury persists, interferes with your daily activities or you’re having severe pain, it is best to seek advice and treatment from a professional orthopaedic doctor. Dr Gowreeson Thevendran is well-experienced in diagnosing and treating shoulder tendon pain. Get in touch now to find relief with shoulder pain treatment options at Orthofoot MD.