The shoulder joint consists of three bones: the humerus, scapular, and clavicle. Injury or illness of one or more of these bones, or with the ligaments and muscles surrounding the shoulder joint, can lead to shoulder pain.
Potential Causes of Shoulder Pain
Shoulder pain may be caused by one of the following injuries or illnesses:
- Cervical radiculopathy
- Dislocated shoulder
- Frozen shoulder
- Heart attack
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Rotator cuff injury
- Brachial plexus injury
- Broken arm
- Polymyalgia rheumatica
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Thoracic outlet syndrome
Symptoms of Shoulder Pain
Shoulder pain that is new, worsens, becomes severe, or is accompanied by the following symptoms may require immediate attention:
- Abdominal pain
- Shoulder pain while resting or at night
- Injury that leads to joint deformity
- Inability to carry objects
- Inability to raise or use the arm
- Signs of an infection, such as fever, warmth, and skin redness
- Swelling or significant bruising around the arm or joint
- Other unexplained symptoms
How Shoulder Pain is Diagnosed
Apply pressure to different parts of the patient’s shoulder to identify unusual tenderness or deformity
Test the patient’s arm strength and shoulder range of motion
Examine the patient’s neck, abdomen, and other areas of their body to identify non-shoulder-related causes of pain.
In some cases, an X-ray or MRI scan may be done to check for bone spurs and tears in tendons, ligaments, or muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. Treatment for shoulder pain will depend on the underlying cause.
Joint and soft tissue injections may help alleviate shoulder pain caused by soft tissue injuries. Pain management therapy may encompass a range of treatments, such as hot and cold therapy, massage, acupuncture, tai chi, deep breathing, cognitive behavior therapy, yoga, meditation, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, progressive muscle relaxation, opioids, antidepressants, and beta-blockers.
Patients experiencing shoulder pain that interferes with daily life and impairs their ability to perform job duties may need occupational medicine to help them adjust to the demands of the workplace.
Staff at Central Nevada Regional Care are also trained to help employers adapt the workplace to the limitations of employees experiencing shoulder pain. Occupational medicine can help both employers and injured employees create a plan for operating in the workplace.
Some patients may need advanced treatment to address their shoulder pain. Advanced treatment may include chiropractic adjustment, physical therapy, and even surgery. Patients are encouraged to speak to their physician at Central Nevada Regional Care to learn more about obtaining advanced treatment for shoulder pain.
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