A Guide To The Causes Of Shoulder Pain
There’s a reason why it’s called ‘shouldering a responsibility’. Maybe, that’s because our shoulders are one of the most reliable bones in our body.
Every bone in the body needs to be given an equal amount of care and importance as without it, we would not be mobile. The shoulder is one of the most important bony structures in our body. Sadly, almost all of us stress the shoulder to a great extent due to various reasons or activities but tend to ignore taking care of it until the pain cannot be ignored anymore. This has resulted in an increase in the number of people who get diagnosed with various shoulder ailments in India as well as around the world. Shoulder pain can be minor or a major concern depending on how early the person acknowledges it and gets it checked.
Our shoulder is made up of three bones –
- Upper Arm Bone (Humerus)
- Shoulder blade (Scapula)
- Collar Bone (Clavicle)
Shoulder pains can be caused due to various reasons, a few of which can be treated with minimal exercises and painkillers but other causes of shoulder pains can be more severe needing more extensive care.
What Causes Shoulder Pain?
Bursitis: We have small fluid-filled sacs which are located in joints throughout the body which are called Bursae. They act as cushions between bones and help reduce friction between the softer and harder bones in the body. Sometimes, when we excessively use the shoulder, the bursae gets inflamed and swollen between the shoulder blade and the arm rotator. This leads to a condition known as bursitis. This results to severe pain in the shoulder.
Tendinitis: Tendon is a cord that connects the bone to the muscle. The wearing out of those tendons is called as Tendinitis. This is a condition that happens through time as constant use of shoulder muscles strains it while doing different types of work in our daily life.
Tendinitis can be of two types:
Acute: Excessive activities such as throwing a ball or carrying heavy weights can lead to this type of Tendinitis.
Chronic: Diseases which are degenerative in nature such as Arthritis or repetitive wear and tear of tendons due to age leads to Chronic Tendinitis.
Tendon Tears – Tearing or splitting of tissues due to excessive sports activities or even due to old age results in tendon tears which causes an immense amount of pain in the area of the shoulder. The tears may be partial or complete depending on the intensity of the injury or the age of the person. In most cases, tendons are completely split into two pieces and at times the tendons may be torn away from its attachment to the bones.
Impingement – When the arm is lifted away from the body, the shoulder blade often puts pressure on the underlying tissues in the area. This results in shoulder impingement. Continuous lifting of the arm eventually results in excessive pressure on the bursa and the tendons which result in Bursitis and Tendinitis which can cause severe pain in the shoulder.
Instability – The instability of the shoulder is often a result of the upper arm bone (Humerus) being forced out of the shoulder socket. This is caused due to sudden injuries to that particular area of the body or even overuse of the upper arm. This can further result in shoulder dislocation which causes severe pain. Shoulder dislocations can be recurring and can lead to arthritis in the particular joint.
Arthritis – Shoulder pain can also be a result of Arthritis. There are many types of Arthritis but the most common type is Osteoarthritis which is a result of wear and tear of the tissues surrounding the structure of the shoulder. Osteoarthritis can also be a result of sports activities or due to chronic wear and tear. The pain of osteoarthritis increases slowly and get worse with time until detected and cured. People often reduce the movement of their shoulders to decrease the pain related to arthritis.
Fractures – A fracture is basically a broken bone. This can be seen in the collarbone, the humerus and even the shoulder blade which is the reason for severe pain and swelling in the shoulder. Shoulder fractures are often due to a fall from a height or a blunt trauma to the shoulder. Fractures in younger patients also occur due to high-intensity sports and motor accidents.
Shoulder Pain That Does not Originate In Shoulder Bones…
Spinal Disc Diseases: A disc disease is when you have a problem in the discs of your spine which cushion your vertebrae. The pain of the cervical spine can cause pressure on the nerves. Nerve distress may present as a painful shoulder.
Heart Attack: Yes, you have read it right. A symptom of a developing heart attack, medically known as Myocardial Infarction, can be shoulder pain. Pain in left side of the body especially in the left hand or left shoulder that radiates to the neck and lower back pain is a sign of a heart attack. In such cases, consult a doctor immediately.
Gallbladder Infection: Infection in the gallbladder, known as Cholecystitis, can cause shoulder pain, especially in the right shoulder, radiating from the back.
These are all in all the general and most common reasons for shoulder pain. All of these conditions and the pain they cause can be prevented if proper measures are taken to care for the shoulder. Pain can be reduced to a great extent and chances for major shoulder ailments can be reduced if detected early. Do not ignore your shoulder. It’s time to “Shoulder” the responsibility.
About The Doctor:
Dr. Ayub Sabre is an experienced and fellowship trained Orthopaedic Surgeon with a special interest in Complex trauma, Spine, Replacement surgery and Minimally Invasive surgeries. He completed his medical education from Kurnool Medical College and a Postgraduate (DNB Orthopedics) from prestigious St. Martha’s Hospital, Bangalore in 2006.
At Premier Hospital, Dr Ayub Sabre has been a dedicated presence for the last 7 years, performing multiple complex surgeries with good outcome maintaining, excellent rapport with patients and attendants.
About the Hospital:
Since the inception of Premier Hospital in 1991 till today, we have grown to unprecedented levels, due to our excellence in medical sciences and healthcare. Premier Hospital is the creation of Dr. Mahesh Marda and when it was first established, was only a small, 30-bed hospital facility. Back then, we provided only secondary care to patients, but that certainly has changed in the present landscape.
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