What are the common causes of shoulder pain?
The shoulder is a very mobile joint. A group of muscles, known as the rotator cuff that allows the shoulder its mobility is prone to injury. Arthritis can also lead to severe shoulder pain. The capsule around the shoulder joint can get inflamed, leading to limited movement and pain.
- adhesive capsulitis aka “frozen shoulder”
- arthritis of the shoulder
- arthritis of the small joints in the neck
- cartilage injuries
- rotator cuff tears
- inflamed tendon or bursa
- nerve impingement
- disc bulge or slipped disc
- poor shoulder muscle tone and neck posture
What are other conditions that can mimic shoulder pain?
Shoulder pain often is simply from muscle strain or injury, but there are certain medical conditions that can result in that symptom.
Other causes of shoulder pain include:
- Heart attack
- Gallbladder stones and inflammation
- Pericarditis – Inflammation of the thin covering over the heart
- Pleuritis – Inflammation of the covering over the lungs
How do you treat shoulder pain?
Treatment of shoulder pain will depend on the underlying cause. But because most neck pain is due to muscle strain, rest and physiotherapy may be a good starting point.
Initial options include
- PRP injections
- Steroid injections
- Trigger point injections
- COX-II inhibitors like arcoxia
- Changes to your sleep and posture
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen
Treatment of severe or chronic shoulder pain include:
- Steroid injections
- Ultrasound guided shoulder injections
- Arthroscopic or open surgery
When should I see a doctor?
You should seek medical attention if:
- Your pain is down the left shoulder and arm as it may mimic a heart attack
- Your pain is associated with weakness, numbness and dizziness
What tests are there to investigate my neck pain?
After the medical interview and physical examination, the doctor may ask for one of the following:
- Ultrasound diagnostic procedure
- CT Scan: good for looking at bone and deep structures
- MRI Scan: gold standard for looking at nerves, and discs
- Blood test: to exclude various autoimmune conditions