Shoulder Pain : Its Causes , Prevention and Treatments

Why is shoulder pain so common?

The shoulder joint has a few peculiarities, which make it more liable to injury and pain.

-It is a “ball and socket” type of joint, wherein the “ball”, which is the head, or the uppermost portion of the humerus, or the bone of the arm, fits in the “socket” of the scapula or the shoulder blade. The “ball” is much bigger than the “socket”, which allows a great range of mobility, making the shoulder joint the most mobile joint in our body. It is one of the few joints that allows movement in almost every axis possible.

-However, this wide range of mobility comes at the cost of stability. The surrounding tendons, muscles and ligaments, have to work very hard to maintain the stability of the joint in face of excellent mobility, making them prone to strain and injury.

What are the various causes of shoulder pain?

-There are multiple causes of shoulder pain, with few inherent to the shoulder, whereas others, referred to the shoulder from other organs. A few common causes include:

-Muscle strain / injury/ tear/ impingement: The “Rotator Cuff” is a group of muscles that surround the shoulder joint and are responsible for most of the cases of shoulder pain.

-Tendinitis: Tendons are those parts of the muscle that attacjh to the bone. This is th part of the muscle that is most susceptible to injury/inflammation.

( Both rotator cuff injuries and tendinitis are common in individuals like athletes, who need to apply force through the shoulder (bowlers, tennis/badminton players) or workers who need to lift and swing weights.

-Shoulder joint dislocation/ instability

-Shoulder joint arthritis


A few “Red Flags” need to be kept in mind:

-Pain from the neck (cervical spine ) may radiate to the shoulder. Any tingling in the fingers/hand, muscle weakness, loss of sensation needs to be addressed promptly

-Pain due to a heart attack may refer to the shoulder. Any symptoms like sweating, palpitations, giddiness, dryness of mouth occurring along with the pain needs emergency management

-Pain due to certain abdominal conditions that irritate the diaphragm can refer to the shoulder. Thus for nonspecific shoulder pain associated with abdominal symptoms, a detailed workup is indicated

What is a frozen shoulder?

A frozen shoulder is a common man’s terminology for a medical term known as “adhesive capsulitis”. As the name suggests, the shoulder is “frozen” that is unable to move. Any attempted movement is extremely painful. A vicious cycle of pain leading to immobility and immobility leading to further adhesions and pain is initiated.

-More common after injuries in which immobility is advised

-Diabetes is a definite risk factor, increasing the chances by upto 3 times

-It is more common in females aged 40 to 60 years, but can occur in any age/gender

Treatment is mainly restoration of normal movement by physiotherapy. However, the joint is often so sore and painful that any sort of movement is impossible. Thus, pain relief with analgesics and anti inflammatory agents is the first step. Intra articular steroids may be helpful for joint inflammation. PRP therapy is a regenerative therapy that will help in restoration of joint function. Suprascapular nerve block and  intralesional injections are few interventional techniques that work wonders for frozen shoulder.

Shoulder joint pain is curable if treated promptly. Prolonged immobility due to pain may lead to a frozen shoulder. See your pain specialist today and make your shoulder happy!

Non-Surgical Treatment options available at Painex for shoulder pain:

  • Pharmacotherapy
  • PRP injection(USG guided)
  • Intralesional/intra-articular steroid injections (USG guided)
  • Suprascapular nerve block (USG guided)
  • Physiotherapy
  • Yoga therapy





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