Shoulder Pain and Problems

Shoulder pain can be a result of injury or disease of the shoulder joint. Injury can affect any of the ligaments, bursae or tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. It may lead to increasing problems with instability or impingement of the soft tissue or bony structures in your shoulder, resulting in pain. You may feel pain only when you move your shoulder, or all the time. The pain may be temporary or it may continue and require medical diagnosis and treatment.

As the most movable joint in the body, the shoulder is also one of the most potentially unstable joints. Thus, it is the site of many common problems. This includes sprains, strains, dislocations, separations, tendinitis, bursitis, torn rotator cuffs, frozen shoulder, fractures and arthritis.

Shoulder pain is very common. Some causes of shoulder pain resolve within a few weeks without any treatment apart from simple medicines for pain relief. However, other causes of shoulder pain can linger for a long time and your doctor will need to arrange further tests and treatment.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your doctor will suggest several tests which will be determined by an initial examination that will narrow down the cause of your shoulder pain. Tests may include:

  • Blood tests to see if you have arthritis
  • X-rays may be needed to see whether you have a bone or joint problem
  • An ultrasound scan to see if there is a problem with the soft tissues of your shoulder

Treatment generally involves rest, physical therapy and minor changes in lifestyle or related activities to help you improve shoulder strength and flexibility. Exerting oneself or adding stress or strain to the affected area is not advised.

Your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce inflammation and pain. Your doctor may also recommend injections of numbing medicines or steroids to relieve pain.

Surgery may be required to resolve some shoulder problems; however, most shoulder pain cases will respond positively to simple treatment methods such as changing one’s typical activities, rest, exercise and medication.