Shoulder pain is any pain felt in or around the shoulder joint. As the most mobile joint in the human body, it is susceptible to injuries, the first of the two most common causes of shoulder pain. The second is diseases affecting the shoulder. The rotator cuff, a group of four tendons in the shoulder, enables the joint to create an extensive range of motion. Damage or swelling to the rotator cuff can lead to shoulder pain. Pain occurs
Rather than being a bone on its own, the shoulder is actually a joint composed of three bones that articulate together: (1) humerus (upper arm bone), (2) scapula (shoulder blade), and (3) clavicle (collarbone). Shoulder pains are not always a medical emergency but right diagnosis is necessary to give proper treatment.
What Causes Shoulder Pain?
There are many possible causes that can lead to shoulder pain. However, shoulder pain may not always be caused by injury to the shoulder or disease. Sometimes, shoulder pain rises from diseases in other parts of the body but pain manifests in the shoulder. This is often called referred pain and can be caused by heart and gallbladder diseases. The following causes listed result to shoulder pain by injury to the shoulder or shoulder disease:
- Bursitis (Rotator Cuff Tendonitis)
- Most common cause
- Inflammation of the bursa (fluid-filled sac) that customarily safeguards the joint and aids in smooth movement
- Rotator Cuff Tear
- Separation of rotator cuff from the bone
- Calcific Tendonitis
- Deposit of calcium within the rotator cuff tendon
- Frozen Shoulder
- Joint stiffness
- Joint inflammation
- Shoulder Instability
- Loose joint
- Shoulder Dislocation
- Abnormal separation of shoulder joint
- Shoulder Separation
- Damage to joint ligaments
- Labral Tear
- Torn labrum
- SLAP Lesion
- Another type of labral tear
- Injury or overuse of nearby tendons
- Spinal cord injury
When Should Medical Attention be sought in Cases of Shoulder Pain?
It is typical of shoulder pain to aggravate upon movement or activity involving the affected shoulder or arm. However, if any of the following symptoms begin to show, immediately call for emergency medical services.
- Very abrupt, crushing pain in the shoulder that runs through the jaw, neck or chest (may be a symptoms for heart attack)
- Shortness of breath
- Inexplicable sweating
- Immobile shoulder
- Red or blue coloring to the shoulder
What First Aid Treatment and Management can be done for Shoulder Pain?
For mild shoulder pains, it can be treated and managed at home with appropriate first aid. The following are tips that can help relieve of shoulder pain.
- Apply ice to the shoulder for 15 minutes and remove for the next 15 minutes. Do this three to four times a day for 48-72 hours. Do not apply ice directly to the skin to avoid frostbite. Wrap the ice in a towel or washcloth.
- Do not attempt to join in strenuous activities as the shoulder needs to be rested. This may take a few days.
- To minimize pain and inflammation, pain medications such as, paracetamol and ibuprofen may be taken.
Disclaimer: The article should not serve as medical advice. Its mere purpose is for information. But to learn how to treat shoulder pain and other bodily pains, enrol in First Aid Courses.