Shoulder Pain / Shoulder Instability
What is Shoulder Pain/Shoulder Instability?
Shoulder pain is any type of pain that occurs in the joints, tendons or muscles in or around the shoulder area. In many cases, pain is due to an injury related to the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is the main set of muscles in the shoulder that controls movement of the arm and injury to the tendons that attach these muscles to the bone of the shoulder are often the cause of shoulder pain. Shoulder instability occurs due to a loose shoulder joint. This may be the result of a shoulder dislocation, a stretching of the joint due to physical activity or injury, or connective tissues disorders may cause the instability. There are many different causes of shoulder pain and instability and depending on the cause, different treatments are indicated to alleviate or diminish the pain or repair the injury.
What causes Shoulder Pain/Shoulder Instability?
There are numerous causes of shoulder pain. Very often the cause of shoulder pain is related to the rotator cuff, the main set of muscles that controls movement in the arm. Some causes of shoulder pain can include bursitis or tendonitis of the rotator cuff, calcific tendonitis of the rotator cuff, rotator cuff or labral tears, arthritis, shoulder dislocation or separation, biceps tendon ruptures, and adhesive capsulitis (or frozen shoulder), among other causes. It is important that the cause of shoulder pain or instability be determined prior to effective treatment.
What are the symptoms of Shoulder Pain/Shoulder Instability?
The symptoms of shoulder pain and instability will differ from individual to individual and will depend on the cause of the problem. Common symptoms include pain that increases in severity over time, pain that does not diminish after a period of rest, ice and over-the-counter medications intended to control pain and swelling, pain that occurs when lifting objects, raising the arms, or rotating the arm from side to side, inability to properly move the arm, tenderness or swelling in the joint, and weakness, among other symptoms.
How is Shoulder Pain/Shoulder Instability diagnosed?
Shoulder pain and instability is diagnosed by your Osteopath at Kinesis Clinic based on the description of symptoms a patient describes, as well as a physical examination. A patient will be asked to move the arm and shoulder in a variety of different ways and the Osteopath may manually feel for tenderness, swelling, or dislocation of the joint. In some cases, an x-ray or MRI is needed to correctly diagnose the underlying cause of shoulder pain and instability.
When should I seek care for Shoulder Pain/Shoulder Instability?
Any time you experience severe, worsening or prolonged shoulder pain that has not been previously diagnosed, it is best to consult a medical professional. Since there are many causes of shoulder pain or instability, the exact cause needs to be determined before proper treatment can begin. Symptoms that warrant a visit to the doctor include an inability to use or raise the arm or lift objects, pain that increases in severity or does not diminish following a few days of rest, an injury that causes bruising, swelling, instability or deformity, or any signs of infection or broken bones. If you are unsure of the cause of your shoulder pain, it is best to consult with your Osteopath.
What will the treatment for Shoulder Pain/Shoulder Instability consist of?
The treatment for shoulder pain and shoulder instability will depend in part on the underlying cause of the pain or instability. It is important to know the cause of your shoulder pain before embarking on treatment, so if you are unsure of the cause, it is best to obtain medical advice prior to beginning any treatment. Common treatments for shoulder pain include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and swelling, ice and/or heat therapy, cortisone injections, rest, immobilization, and physical therapy to strengthen and stretch the muscles and tendons. In some cases, surgery is needed to repair injuries or problems with the shoulder.
Which muscle groups/ joints are commonly affected from Shoulder Pain/Shoulder Instability?
The muscles and tendons in and around the shoulder are affected. The primary cause of shoulder pain is the rotator cuff, which is a series of muscles and tendons that control arm movement.
What type of results should I expect from the treatment for Shoulder Pain/Shoulder Instability?
With proper treatment, shoulder pain should be diminished or eliminated over time. Depending on the cause of the pain, this relief may be experienced quickly or it can take several months to see results. In some cases of chronic pain, the pain may not be completely eliminated, but should diminish enough that the individual is comfortable and is able to carry on reasonable activities. Surgery to repair most shoulder injuries and conditions is generally successful most of the time. If continued or repeated pain occurs, a course of rest, ice, or physical therapy may need to be repeated or activities adapted.
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