The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the body. It allows the shoulder to have a wide and versatile range of movement, with the forward and backward movements, circular motions, as well as allowing the arm to move up and away from the body.
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint and has three bones, these bones are cushioned by a layer of cartilage. The shoulder gets its range of motion from the rotator cuff, which is made up of four tendons. Tendons are tissues that connect the muscle to the bone. If these tendons are damaged or swollen, they can cause pain in the shoulder and restrict the movement.
Shoulder pain can be caused by a sports injury, manual labour, wear and tear with age or repetitive movement. Also, certain diseases can cause shoulder pain.
In many cases, you can treat shoulder pain at home with gentle stretching exercises and some pain relief medication. In cases of severe pain or when the pain is not subsiding with home treatment then professional help should be sought for correct diagnosis and treatment.
Causes of Shoulder Pain
Due to the complexity of the shoulder joint, there are a number of different causes of shoulder pain. Diagnosis of the cause of the pain is determined by the symptoms displayed.
Persistent pain and/or stiffness that does not go away and can last for months and even years may be due to a frozen shoulder, arthritis (Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid arthritis), or Mental Health issues (stress or anxiety).
Where the pain tends to increase or get worse when you move or use the shoulder or arm, this is indicative of rotator cuff tendonitis, bursitis, or a shoulder impingement
If you are experiencing numbness, weakness or tingling, this is maybe due to a pinched or trapped nerve in the shoulder or neck. These are also symptoms of instability in the shoulder, the most common form of which is hypermobility and can be accompanied by locking or clicking of the shoulder.
Sudden or very intense pain where there is great difficulty in moving the shoulder or arm is indicative of a dislocated shoulder or broken collar bone.
Spinal cord injury.
For short-term are low-level shoulder pain there are a number of things that you can do to help yourself. These include:
- Staying active and gently moving your shoulder
- Doing exercises for shoulder pain
- Use pain relief such as painkillers or heat or cold packs
- Maintaining good posture with you back straight and your shoulders gently back
- Using a cushion for your lower back while sitting
- Resting your arm on your lap while sitting
You should avoid any activity that makes the pain worse and does not completely stop using the arm.
For longer-term or more persistent pain a full diagnosis is required to determine the best treatment plan for recovery. This includes understanding the exact causes of the pain, as we treat the causes as well as the symptoms. With all pain, if only the symptoms are treated, and the causes left unidentified the client may continue to do what is causing the pain in the first place.
Our treatments employ gentle manipulation techniques, massage, cupping and exercise to alleviate shoulder pain. We ask clients to work with us in undertaking any changes in their lifestyle that may be the cause of the pain as well as undertaking to complete the exercises we give to help clear the pain.
In cases where the pain has been caused by excessive stress or anxiety, we work with the client to help them reduce stress and anxiety in their lives.
At The Hannon Clinic, we are also very aware of the impact of persistent and long-term pain. We work with clients to help them to become consciously aware of how they are subconsciously thinking about their pain and from this we can teach them how to think differently and so help themselves become pain-free quicker.