From scratching your back to waving hello to a friend, your shoulder joint enables you to do a variety of essential activities every single day. This complicated joint has a range of mobility we take for granted until we start experiencing pain. Whether it’s a slight ache or pain that makes you unable to lift your arm above your head without discomfort, a variety of causes could be the culprit of your shoulder pain.
Unfortunately, the mobility of our shoulder sometimes comes at a price. Wear and tear from everyday life lead to painful side effects. If you’re struggling with shoulder pain, then it’s time to visit the team at Spine Institute of North America. We will root out the cause and help you find the best treatment for your ailment.
What Is Shoulder Pain?
The answer to this question is relatively straightforward — it’s any pain or discomfort you experience in the region of your shoulder. However, when we break down the anatomy of your shoulder, you begin to realize it’s a bit more complicated.
The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, and it’s made up of three bones:
- The humerus or upper arm bone
- The shoulder blade
- The clavicle or collarbone
Your upper arm bone fits into a rounded socket, and a combination of muscles and tendons keep the bone in place. These tissues comprise the rotator cuff. Issues you experience with any of these parts, from bones and tendons to muscles and ligaments, can cause shoulder pain.
Symptoms of Shoulder Pain
Most of the time, patients attempt to treat shoulder pain on their own. Although this is okay in most situations, pain is your body’s way of indicating you have a problem you shouldn’t be ignoring. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek out medical assistance for your shoulder pain:
- Swelling or lasting bruising
- Heat and tenderness around the joint
- Inability to move your shoulder
- Pain that persists beyond a few weeks
Possible Causes for Shoulder Pain
A variety of injuries and conditions can lead patients to come to our office due to shoulder pain. Some are very uncommon, so we will focus on the main culprits that could be causing pain in your shoulder, including:
- Bursitis: Inflammation and swelling of the bursa, small sacs of fluid which act as cushions in your joints, can lead to shoulder pain.
- Tendinitis: When the shoulder tendons become inflamed due to overuse or disease, you may experience pain.
- Frozen Shoulder: The medical term is adhesive capsulitis, which is when the tissues in your shoulder become thickened and inflamed.
- Tendon Tears: Injury, overuse or old age can cause the tendons to partially or completely tear. A torn rotator cuff is one of the most common examples of this type of shoulder injury.
- Shoulder Impingement: When pressure is applied to the shoulder’s soft tissue by the top of the shoulder blade, it can lead to shoulder pain.
- Dislocation: When the arm bone is forced out of the shoulder socket, you have a dislocated shoulder. This can cause tissue around the shoulder to become loose or torn, leading to shoulder instability and the potential for dislocations to become a recurring issue.
- Arthritis: Although there are many kinds of arthritis, the most common type to affect the shoulder is osteoarthritis, which wears down the cartilage causing bones to rub against one another.
- Fracture: Broken bones which are usually the result of an injury, or fractures, could be another cause of shoulder pain.
Why Does My Shoulder Hurt When I Lift My Arm?
If your shoulder hurts when you raise your arms, this may be the first sign something is wrong with this critical joint. Understanding why it hurts as soon as possible could prevent you from having to undergo costly treatments or even surgery.
Sometimes, when you can’t lift your arms without shoulder pain, it’s because of an especially hard workout — or perhaps from moving it or sleeping on it incorrectly. This type of pain should subside in a few days. However, if you still experience pain when you lift your arms after a few weeks, you may have one of the conditions or injuries mentioned above.
Shoulder Pain Treatments Available
At Spine Institute of North America, our top priority is to offer a diagnosis for your shoulder pain, then work out an individualized treatment plan. No two patients are alike, which means our treatments will be as varied as those we care for. However, we make it our goal to begin with conservative choices first and foremost. This could include physical therapy, medication, compresses for the affected area, or a combination of these minimally invasive options.
If your pain persists, then we may need to perform a minimally invasive surgical procedure. The direction we take will depend entirely on your individual needs. We also use regenerative medicine techniques, such as platelet-rich plasma injections. Whichever treatment option we recommend, you can be sure you’ll be able to make an educated choice with all the information at your disposal.
Find Relief at Spine Institute of North America
If shoulder pain is keeping you from participating in the activities you love or interfering with your work and daily life, come to Spine Institute of North America. Our three locations in New Jersey are all equipped to offer an accurate diagnosis and work with you to find an effective treatment plan. Make an appointment today.
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