We use our shoulders all day long, and almost all upper body movements involve the shoulders in one way or another.
So, when there’s a problem with the structures in our shoulders, our ability to move freely can be greatly limited and can result in a great deal of pain and discomfort. The shoulder is made up of a ball-and-socket design, getting its range of motion from a rotator cuff made up of bones and tendons. When these tendons and bones become damaged or swollen, it can result in significant difficulty with movement causing us pain to even lift our arms over our heads.
Additional sources of shoulder pain can include several forms of arthritis or torn cartilage. Projections that form along the edges of our bones, called bone spurs, are another common source of shoulder pain. Nerves that are pinched in the neck or shoulder can also cause debilitating pain. The term “frozen shoulder” refers to tendons, ligaments and muscles that stiffen to the point where they become difficult or impossible to move or cause us wincing pain.
Symptoms can include:
- dull ache associated with specific movements
- sharp pain as the result of soft tissue or nerve impingement
- persistent pain due to small tears in the muscles, tendons or ligaments
- intense pain due to traumatic injury, such as a stress fracture or break
Common treatments include:
- rest, immobilization and the application of heat and cold therapies
- massage and physical therapy
- intra-articular injections
- acupuncture and other alternative therapies
- botox injections