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Bilateral Shoulder Pain

Bilateral Shoulder Pain

There could be a variety of reasons for your bilateral shoulder pain, ranging from strain and tension from muscles due to poor posture to overuse to trauma from an injury.  Do you know shoulder pain is one of the most common reasons for a person to seek medical help?

The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint of the body.  Be it lifting a bucket of water or reaching up into the cupboard, given the number of everyday activities it is involved in, shoulder pain is something that you get from time to time.  Our shoulder has the flexibility to turn in many directions.  But this advantage can be the very disadvantage that makes the shoulder prone to injuries and pain thereafter.  The reasons for shoulder pain can be from osteoarthritis, muscle tears, tendonitis etc.  In fact, there are numerous possibilities due to the anatomy involved in allowing your shoulder to do what it does.  Shoulder pain is also called deltoid pain and it is an extremely common problem.

The shoulder consists of three bones – humerus (upper arm), scapula (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collarbone).  Given the shoulder’s complex structure, problems with any part of the shoulder can lead to severe pain.  In order to zero in on the correct treatment of the shoulder pain, it is very important to pinpoint exactly what part of the shoulder hurts.  In this article let’s delve a bit deeper as to what causes bilateral shoulder pain.

Due to the peculiarity of the anatomical structure of our nervous system, our shoulder may also demonstrate pain coming from other body parts.  What this configuration suggests is that we should not ignore the pain coming from either one shoulder or bilateral shoulders, particularly if it seems to be occurring for no apparent reason.

Typical features of bilateral shoulder pain:

Pain in both shoulders can demonstrate one or more of the following features:

    • Heat and a patch of redness over the shoulder joints
    • Deep aching pain coupled with a burning sensation
    • Both arms and shoulder feeling very tight and inability to move hand freely during walking and exercise
    • A radiating pain in the arm and hand with tingling


Who is prone to bilateral shoulder pain?

People who engage in strenuous physical work are prone to develop bilateral shoulder pain.  It includes hard labor work such as digging, cutting or lifting/moving heavy objects without proper support.  Another section of people who get affected by bilateral shoulder pain is sportspeople, especially the ones who use their shoulder extensively to hit or throw such as tennis and baseball players.  Weightlifters can also come under the sportspeople get affected by bilateral shoulder pain.


Apart from the above, those who suffer with gallbladder, liver or heart ailments can also experience severe pain in bilateral shoulders.  Rarely, bilateral shoulder pain can also be a warning sign of a heart attack.


Level of severity of bilateral shoulder pain:

Based on the intensity of the pain, bilateral shoulder pain can be divided into three categories, harmless pain, moderately harmful and seriously harmful.  Pain that comes on slowly and improves with rest is the one termed as harmless pain.  Bilateral shoulder pain that happens on account of an acute shoulder trauma falls in the moderately harmful category.  This kind of pain can be completely got rid of with proper medical treatment.  However, bilateral shoulder pain that come on all of a sudden for no apparent reason is called seriously harmful pain.  This type of pain calls for emergency medical treatment.


What triggers bilateral shoulder pain?

There can be a variety of causes that set off bilateral shoulder pain, so it is wise to understand the symptoms and when to seek a medical opinion.  The common causes of bilateral shoulder pain may include the following:

Tendons and muscles getting inflamed

Pain due to pressure on the neck and shoulder muscles:  Poor posture is the primary reason for this kind of pain.  People who spend long hours in front of the computer and spending too much time on smart phone are prone to this pain.

Severe over use of the joint.  Repetitive motion causes this kind of pain.  People engage in sports such as badminton, tennis and weightlifting are primary casualties.  This injury can manifest as sprain, strain, tear or other damage to the shoulder structures.

Trauma.  When a sudden, unforeseen incident triggers bilateral shoulder pain, it is called traumatic pain.  For e.g. automobile accident


Less common causes:

Autoimmune diseases:  You have to look out for inflammation as it will eventually impair cartilage and bone of the shoulder joint

Neurological causes:  Damage to the nerve structure in the shoulder region

Infection –related causes:  Infections in the shoulder cartilages and bones

Uncommon causes:

Getting older:  As people age, they may fall prey to degenerative diseases that affect the neck and shoulders.

Referred pain:  As the name suggests, referred pain referred to pain feeling in an area, but the source of the pain may be somewhere else in the body.  Though not common, bilateral shoulder pain can be on account of tumors elsewhere in the body.

Medical conditions that trigger bilateral shoulder pain:

    • Shoulder arthritis
    • Frozen shoulder
    • Non-specific shoulder pain
    • Swimmer’s shoulder
    • Brachial plexopathyFor
    • Pinched nerve in the neck
    • Fibromyalgia
    • Rheumatic arthritis


Tips to get rid of bilateral shoulder pain:

Following first-line treatments can be tried to get relief from bilateral shoulder pain:

    • Applying heat or ice to the shoulder region can help you get rid of bilateral shoulder pain.
    • When you are sitting and standing, make sure you adopt a proper posture
    • Exercise appropriately and make sure you are not overdoing it. If needed, get the help of a professional trainer
    • If you are suffering from overweight, lose weight and exercise regularly. Losing weight will lead to easy movement, thereby less pressure on joints
    • Adopt a healthy diet.

If your pain is not showing any signs of abatement despite the above-mentioned treatments, then it is high time you sought a medical opinion.


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