The majority of shoulder problems are the result of soft tissue breaking down in a region of the shoulder. As people get older, soft tissue can break down faster. Manual labour and sports are also substantial contributors.
Anyone can have shoulder problems. It can be felt in a single spot, in large or small areas, and can travel into the arm. It has been noted that certain diseases can create shoulder pain, including:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Disease of the spine in the neck
Injury in the shoulder or arm can also lead to various levels of pain. The list of injuries or ailments include:
- Rotator cuff tear
- Frozen shoulder
- Rotator cuff disease
Dealing with this pain can vary depending on the source of the problem. But there are general applications that can be applied to most of these conditions without necessarily consulting with a physician or therapist.
- Upon experiencing pain, give the shoulder no less than 48 hours to rest and recuperate. This means no physical activity that stresses the tendons.
- Apply an ice pack to the pained area for about 20 minutes between four and eight times a day. You can use an ice bag, cold pack or plastic bag filled with crushed ice that’s wrapped in a towel.
- Use a bandage or wrap to hold the shoulder in place. Put even compression on the pained area to help reduce swelling.
- While laying, keep the injured area above heart level. Place a pillow under the shoulder to hold the pained shoulder up.
Should pain and stiffness persist, it’s time to see a doctor for examination, diagnosis and any potential shoulder pain treatment. Treatment will vary based on the doctor’s determination. For instance, treatment for a dislocation could include wearing a device that keeps the shoulder in place, resting the shoulder, icing several times a day, and exercise to strengthen muscles, minimize growth of the injury and improve range of motion. On the other hand, rotator cuff tear treatment may consist of rest, cold or heat to the sore area, medication to reduce swelling and pain, stimulation of nerves and muscle through electrical applications, ultrasound, cortisone injections, and exercise to improve range of motion and function, and possible surgery if other methods do not appear to improve the tear.
Young people who are active are typical sufferers of dislocations. Rotator cuff tears are more common among athletes and mature individuals, usually the result of stretching out a hand during a fall. Treatment will be based on factors like state of health, age, severity of the injury and how long it’s taken before diagnosis.
If you do experience shoulder pain that lasts more than a few days, experience pain that comes and goes or that worsens over time, see a specialist right away.