ISOMATIC Integrative Health Centre


Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain Overview:

Shoulder pain is a common complaint that can arise from various causes, affecting the joint, muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Understanding the factors contributing to shoulder pain, recognizing symptoms, and exploring management options is crucial for effective relief and prevention.

Causes of Shoulder Pain:

  1. Rotator Cuff Injuries: Strains or tears in the muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint.
  2. Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis): Inflammation and stiffness limiting shoulder movement.
  3. Shoulder Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursa sac, causing pain and swelling.
  4. Tendinitis: Inflammation of tendons, such as biceps or supraspinatus tendinitis.
  5. Arthritis: Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis affecting the shoulder joint.
  6. Dislocation or Instability: Displacement of the shoulder joint or recurrent instability.
  7. Fractures or Trauma: Fractures of the collarbone, upper arm, or shoulder blade.
  8. Nerve Compression: Pinched nerves, such as brachial plexus injuries.
  9. Referred Pain: Pain originating from other areas, like the neck or diaphragm.

Common Symptoms:

  1. Pain: Dull, aching, or sharp pain in the shoulder joint.
  2. Stiffness: Difficulty moving the shoulder through its full range of motion.
  3. Weakness: Reduced strength in the affected shoulder.
  4. Swelling: Visible swelling around the shoulder joint.
  5. Instability: Feeling that the shoulder might pop out of place.
  6. Numbness or Tingling: Radiating sensations down the arm in nerve-related issues.

Management and Treatment:

  1. Rest and Immobilization: Allowing the shoulder to rest and avoiding activities that worsen pain.
  2. Ice or Heat Therapy: Applying ice or heat to reduce inflammation and soothe pain.
  3. Pain Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications.
  4. Physical Therapy: Targeted exercises to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility.
  5. Shoulder Braces or Slings: Providing support and restricting movement during healing.
  6. Corticosteroid Injections: Administered to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
  7. Joint Distension: Injecting sterile water into the joint to expand the joint capsule.
  8. Surgery: Reserved for severe cases, such as rotator cuff repairs or joint replacement.

It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and accurate diagnosis of shoulder pain. Tailored treatment plans, including a combination of conservative measures and, if necessary, medical interventions, can effectively manage and alleviate shoulder pain, promoting a return to normal function and improved quality of life.

Scarborough in Toronto

Andrew Chan, R.H.N., DOMP, B.Sc., DO (Euro)

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