FAQ’s on Shoulder Pain

Pain in the shoulder is one of the most treated symptoms for patients by our clinic. Due to the wide variety of potential causes, shoulder pain can occur fairly often. This comes from the larger amount of muscle groups, ligaments, and bones present in the shoulder when compared to other joints of the body. Extra muscle tissue and bone in this area lends itself to an increased chance of the formation of arthritic inflammation – a condition that may be a strong source of pain in the shoulder for patients.

If pain is being felt in the shoulder from an unknown cause, or pain has worsened from a minor ailment to a full debilitating symptom, it is ideal to visit our clinic. One of our staffed physicians will be able to accurately diagnose the cause of your pain and administer proper treatment to obtain relief. If symptoms have progressed to a loss of function in the arm, a visible deformity (swelling of the area or a lump on the skin), or discoloration of the skin (bruising), it is crucial to visit our clinic today.

What are the causes of Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain can be the result of any number of causes. Most often the cause of pain is inflammation of the area, which can result from multiple stimuli. Both tendonitis and bursitis can cause an inflammatory response in the shoulder. These conditions are the result of the bursa and tendons becoming damaged or inflamed, causing them to swell and reduce the mobility of the shoulder joint.

This swelling may also put pressure on the tendons of the shoulder, forcing them into a fixed position. This pressure may result in pain and a loss of function. Tendonitis that is left unattended can potentially tear the rotator cuff of the shoulder, resulting in damage to the muscle tissue that may need surgical correction.

Further causes of shoulder pain include dislocation or separation of the shoulder. Separation of the shoulder involves the top joint of the shoulder becoming disconnected from the collar bone, with dislocation being a slippage of the shoulder out of its socket. This allows for free movement within the ball-and-socket joint, which can damage surrounding muscle tissue. Direct injury to the shoulder is the forefront cause of these two conditions.

What are the symptoms of Shoulder Pain?

Regardless of the cause of shoulder pain in a patient, the symptoms that will be present are largely shared. The primary symptom felt with an ailment of the shoulder is localized pain, following closely by stiffness of the joint and a loss of function. Some patients experience a sensation of the shoulder ‘catching’ during movement, which may occur as the result of the muscles being strained during movement.

There may be visible indications of tissue damage, seen by discoloration of the area and the presence of bruising. This is more common in instances where the shoulder pain has occurred due to injury to the shoulder. Direct impact to the shoulder or a sudden wrenching of the arm can each potentially result in damage and thus shoulder pain.

How is Shoulder Pain diagnosed?

Diagnosis is achieved based on a combination of the patients’ medical history and a recount of the events leading up to pain symptoms. X-rays and MRIs may be used to examine bone and tissue damage respectively.

Treatment options for Shoulder Pain

The treatment suggested to the patient by our physician will be based upon what the probable cause of symptomatic pain was. Treatments used for Shoulder Pain include stretching of the joint, hot and cold compressions, and medication (both pain and anti-inflammatory). In certain cases of shoulder pain, surgery may be required to repair the damage (such as with a torn or destroyed tendon).