2 posts categorized "Shoulder Problems & Etiology"

March 06, 2007

Shoulder Pain: A problem of Epidemic Proportions

Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

Rotator cuff tears and rotator cuff inflammation in the shoulder both fall under the umbrella term of rotator cuff tendonitis. The scope of rotator cuff problems is staggering. MRI studies, as well as cadaver studies, have confirmed that 60% of people over the age of 60 have tears in their supraspinatus (rotator cuff) tendon.

A recent Scandinavian study showed that over the course of a year, over 30% of adults will experience significant shoulder pain. In another recent Scandinavian study, a general practitioner physician will see on average 3-4 shoulder pain visits per week.

It is generally thought that 85% to 90% of shoulder pain is directly a result of rotator cuff problems. This problem is resulting in millions of doctor visits a year and more importantly significant pain and suffering from millions of people per year. The research also suggests that millions of people are not being seen by the doctor and simply suffering with shoulder pain.

This problem is unique in that it is present in essentially all age groups over the age of 18, although someone more so with increasing age.

January 29, 2007

Etiology of Shoulder Problems

The shoulder is easily injured because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the shoulder socket that holds it. To remain stable, the shoulder must be anchored by its muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Shoulder pain may be localized or may be felt in areas around the shoulder or down the arm.  Although the shoulder is easily injured during sporting activities and physical activity, the primary source of shoulder problems may be the natural age-related degeneration of the surrounding soft tissues such as those found in the rotator cuff. The incidence of rotator cuff problems rises dramatically as a function of age and is generally seen among individuals who are more than 60 years old. Often, the dominant and nondominant arm will be affected to a similar degree. Overuse of the shoulder can lead to more rapid age-related deterioration of the shoulder muscles, tendons, and ligaments.