Shoulder pain: why it arises and how to get rid of it

Shoulder pain: why it arises and how to get rid of it

Vartan Olegovich Tamazyan

- Pain in the shoulder joint is more common than in any other joint in our body. According to Norwegian scientists, from 7 to 26 percent of people of different ages suffer from it. The reason is that the shoulder joint rotates in different directions, while it is naturally unstable.

Shoulder pain may be acute or chronic. Injuries to muscles, ligaments, bones, cartilage or tendons most often lead to acute pain.

Inflammatory and destructive processes in the shoulder joint, metabolic and autoimmune diseases are less common. Sometimes shoulder pain is a symptom of a disease in another zone: the spine, heart, lungs.

Shoulder pain: why it arises and how to get rid of it

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Chronic shoulder pain is considered, which does not pass more than six months. Usually, the cause is called periarthritis of the shoulder joint, but there is no such diagnosis in the international classification of diseases.

This is not a separate disease, but a medical term. It means that the tissues around the shoulder are inflamed. Various diagnoses may be hidden under this term:

  • tendonitis (inflammation and tissue dystrophy) of the muscles of the rotator cuff;
  • tendon inflammation of the biceps of the shoulder;
  • calcifying tendonitis (accumulation of crystals of hydroxyapatite calcium in the tissues of the rotator cuff) ;
  • tendon rupture ;
  • adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder syndrome).

Most often, chronic shoulder pain occurs due to repeated microtraumas and tendon inflammation. Microtrauma can occur during sports or work associated with the repeated execution of uniform movements.

More rarely, the cause of pain is instability of the shoulder, arthrosis of the shoulder or clavicular-acromial joint (the connection between the clavicle and the acromial process of the scapula).

Several muscles provide stability to the shoulder. Typically, chronic pain occurs due to inflammation of the tendons of these muscles. Pathology most often develops in men. Only the dominant hand is affected.

The process takes place in three stages:

  1. Acute inflammation and edema . Sometimes the situation is complicated by hemorrhage. The problem mainly manifests itself in young people under 25 years old. With adequate treatment, it is completely eliminated.
  2. Thickening of the tendon .

    Usually occurs after 25 years. The thickened tendon becomes inflamed, causing the connective tissue to grow (this is called fibrosis) and then become thicker. As a result, chronic pain and impaired joint mobility appear. Pathology develops slowly, so a person cannot remember even a month when he felt pain for the first time.

  3. Tendon fracture .

    Usually occurs after 40 years against the background of a long course of the disease. The pain is usually dull, initially occurs after physical exertion and intensifies when raising the arm. The pain interferes with sleep if you lie on the problem side. While lowering the hand, clicks are often heard. When the tendon is destroyed, it is difficult to perform active movements, but in general the joint mobility is maintained.

Shoulder pain: why it arises and how to get rid of it

Photo: shutterstock. com

In 80 percent of cases, shoulder pain is treated without surgery. Chronic shoulder pain is usually treated as follows:

  • limit physical activity and organize complete rest of the affected shoulder for several months;
  • use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce pain and relieve swelling (before use, read the instructions and consult a specialist. - Approx. ed.

    ) ;

  • use physiotherapy;
  • prescribe a massage.

In each case, you need to consult a doctor who will establish the cause of the pain and prescribe treatment.

In recent years, cell technology has been used for treatment. Stem cells or platelet-rich plasma can be injected into the joint. This eliminates the problem in a shorter time.

Operating is necessary only if there has been a complete rupture of the tendon or if the six-month therapy is ineffective. In other cases, the problem is solved without surgery.

Shoulder pain: why it arises and how to get rid of it

Photo: shutterstock. com

If it happens that the doctor still prescribes an operation, you should not be afraid of it. Modern operations on the shoulder are performed by the arthroscopic method.

Instruments with a video camera are inserted into the joint through small incisions, which then quickly heal. This reduces the risk of complications and shortens the recovery period. After most operations, prolonged immobilization of the arm is not required. This allows you to start recovery earlier and prevent muscle atrophy.

Do not delay the visit to the orthopedic trauma surgeon.

The doctor will diagnose and choose the right treatment, , which in the initial stages is possible without surgery. In advanced cases, surgical intervention and then a recovery period are required.

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