What keeps you up at night? why is it so hard to get dressed, or do your hair?
Our shoulders are one of the most important joints to perform simple activities! And when they hurt it can be exhausting. While there is a lot of buzz about shoulder injuries in athletes, they affect everyone from young to old. Lets look at some of the common causes of shoulder pain and their symptoms.
- Shoulder Bursitis – a common cause of discomfort from inflamed tissue meant to protect your rotator cuff from the bones in your shoulder. Usually a soreness that keeps you up at night. Unfortunately, this one comes with maturity for most people.
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis – probably the most common problem. Pain when reaching up or behind. Repetitive activity and maturity will lead to this inflammation of the tendons themselves. You may feel weakness using your arm.
- Rotator cuff Tears – pain and a significant weakness trying to raise your arm. Once the tendon fails and tears away from the bone you lose your ability to lift the arm well. This can be from an injury or develop over time from tendonitis
- Labral tears – a deep pain in the socket. usually this is caused by an injury that dislocates or strains your shoulder. There may be a sharp pain deep in the shoulder in certain motions.
- Instability – your shoulder feels like it might pop out in certain positions. Sometimes even simply sleeping or dressing. There is usually a history of a dislocation of the shoulder from sports or injury.
- Impingement – pain when reaching overhead or behind. Often caused from structures normally in your shoulder rubbing against the tendons and irritating them. Could be from arthritis in the AC joint, inflamed ligaments, or a “bone spur”. Usually a repetitive activity or lack of good range of motion and strength in the shoulder is the cause.
- Frozen Shoulder – while not always painful it is stiff, hence the name. Often there is no injury or obvious cause. It often occurs in middle age women with out warning.
- Arthritis – stiffness and pain, with occasional catching and grinding. Although it is not as common as other joints the shoulder joint will wear out over time. The cartilage wears down and bones rub together.
There are many other causes for shoulder pain including shoulder injuries, neck problems, and chest problems. A good history and exam is important to narrow down the options and start to develop a treatment plan. Think about your shoulder pain – when it started, did you injure it, how does it affect you. Be prepared to tell your orthopedic surgeon and help come up with a good treatment plan. Just reviewing this list has hopefully gotten you started!
If you have questions about shoulder pain, or experiences to share about your success with treating shoulder pain let me know. Be informed and involved in your healthcare decisions!