Main | March 2007 »

5 posts from January 2007

January 29, 2007

Shoulder Pain Treatment

Shoulder pain treatment generally involves altering activities, rest and physical therapy to help you improve shoulder strength and flexibility. Medication may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and reduce pain. If medication is prescribed to relieve pain, it should be taken only as directed. Injections of drugs may also be used to treat pain.

Surgery may be required to resolve shoulder problems; however, 90 percent of patients with shoulder pain will respond to simple treatment methods such as altering activities, rest, exercise and medication. Certain types of shoulder problems, such as recurring dislocation and some rotator cuff tears may require surgery.

Common sense solutions such as avoiding overexertion or overdoing activities in which you normally don't participate can help to prevent shoulder pain.

Shoulder Tendonitis

A tendon is a cord which connects muscle to bone or other tissue. Most tendonitis is a result of the wearing process that takes place over a period of years, much like the wearing process on the sole of a shoe which eventually splits from overuse. Tendinitis is inflammation (redness, soreness, and swelling) of a tendon. The rotator cuff and/or biceps tendon become inflamed, usually as a result of being pinched by surrounding structures.

Generally, tendinitis can be categorized as follows:

    * acute tendinitis caused by excessive use.

    * chronic tendinitis resulting from degenerative disease or use.

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.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

Most shoulder problems involve the soft tissues, muscles, ligaments and tendons, rather than bones. And most of these problems fall into three major categories:

    * tendonitis/bursitis

    * injury/instability

    * arthritis

Other much more rare causes of shoulder pain are tumors, infection and nerve-related problems.

Shoulder Pain Affects Millions

What Are the Most Common Shoulder Pain Problems?

The most movable joint in the body, the shoulder is also one of the most potentially unstable joints. As a result, it is the site of many common problems resulting in shoulder pain. They include sprains, strains, dislocations, separations, tendinitis, bursitis, torn rotator cuffs, frozen shoulder, fractures, and arthritis. All of these conditions can result in painful shoulder issues which limit your ability to function and enjoy life.

How Common Are Shoulder Problems Resulting in Pain?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 13.7 million people in the United States sought medical care in 2003 for shoulder problems.  Shoulder pain is one of the most common problems affecting people of all ages.