Major Cause of Shoulder Pain
Most probability of you reading this article is because you have shoulder pain or someone close to you is suffering from shoulder pain. The shoulder has a wide and versatile range of motion and the shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the body.When something doesn’t feel right with your shoulder, it hampers your ability to move freely and this can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort.These days more and more people are complaining about shoulder pain – thanks to the technology boom in the IT sector coupled with today’s lifestyle.
And if you are someone with a habit of slouching, you can trace your shoulder pain and stiffness to your posture. With prolonged sitting or electronic use, we tend to resort to bad posture and this will then increase the thoracic kyphosis in our mid back, our head will begin to shift forward, and our shoulders will become rounded. Over time this can cause muscle imbalances like tight shoulder/neck/chest muscles, weakened muscles in the front of the neck and mid back region near the shoulder blades. By not seriously adopting proper posture, we are leading ourselves down a potential path to a multitude of musculoskeletal impairments, especially in the shoulder.
Now once you are affected with shoulder pain, you should look for options to relieve the shoulder pain as soon as possible. If your shoulder pain is new, it is advisable to wait for 2 weeks to see if it persists. Try heat therapy, compression or cold compresses. Stop or change the activity that may have caused the shoulder pain. It’s important to be conscious of shoulder movements.If your shoulder pain is continuing after 2 weeks, it is highly advisable to visit the shoulder specialist/ shoulder surgeon near your locality. You can search for orthopedic doctors who specialize in shoulder treatment. But here are some signs that will tell you to meet a doctor right away;
- Your shoulder joint looks deformed.
- You can’t use your shoulder at all.
- The pain is intense.
- The shoulder is swelling suddenly.
- Your arm or hand is weak or numb.
Your shoulder doctor will try to diagnose the cause of your shoulder pain. This is the most important aspect of your treatment. Your close cooperation with the shoulder specialist will help him diagnose the cause sooner. You should have an open discussion with your doctor. Before visiting the specialist/surgeon you should prepare a chart which should contain points like which time of the day the shoulder pain aggravates, in what position it aggravates, if you have shoulder pain while sleeping, what you think could be the cause of your shoulder pain (any injury, disease, trauma etc), which all daily activities are becoming difficult because of your pain etc. These points along with certain tests will help the shoulder doctor to narrow down the diagnosis.The doctors will feel for tenderness and swelling and will also assess your range of motion and joint stability. Imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, can produce detailed pictures of your shoulder to help with the diagnosis.
Some of the possible causes of shoulder pain could be dislocation, separation, fracture, Osteoarthritis which is a degenerative joint disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, cartilage tear or Bursitis. Shoulders can also hurt when there is nothing wrong with them, like a Referred pain when you could be having trouble with your gallbladder, liver or other organ. A shoulder hurting with trouble breathing and a tight chest could be the sign of a heart attack and for which immediate medical help must be sought.
Once a correct diagnosis is done, your doctor will put you through a treatment regimen suited for your condition. Most of the times, shoulder pain is relieved with physiotherapy along with some anti-inflammation medications. In some severe cases (mostly when the patient continues to suffer shoulder pain for a long time), surgery is recommended.
These days it is seen that most of the people who come to the doctor with shoulder pain are from the IT sector. Long hours of work in front of the computer with poor posture are the causes of shoulder pain for most of these patients.
Although ‘ergonomics’ is the term widely used these days, it is not followed or not correctly followed by most of the IT sector professionals. It is good news that most of the big IT companies are coming up with the concept of doing stretch exercises intermittently during work hours. They are coming up with concepts like team huddles, yoga programs etc. However, the need of the hour is that every person takes charge of their own health. One should constantly pay attention to one’s posture particularly while using computers, tablets and mobile phones. Mobile phones are equally contributing to the increasing number of shoulder and neck pain cases. Normally people tend to bend forwarding looking at the mobile phone or texting. And these days long hours are spent on the mobile phones.
Simple 5-minute stretch exercises every 2 hours can go a long way in preventing joint stiffness and thus preventing pain in the shoulder, neck and hand. If you are not sure about the correct posture, either check for information online or seek advice from a shoulder doctor. He will be able to guide you not only with the correct posture but some simple stretch exercises to follow while at home and work.
Apart from neck and shoulder pain, there are other problems reported which are mainly caused by the long and improper use of computers and mobile phones. Problems like mouse shoulder, tennis elbow, repetitive stress syndrome and other problems like stress, insomnia etc are seen to be on the rise.
If you are already suffering from shoulder inflammation and pain, it is important to get rid of the inflammation and pain first. Once your pain and stiffness are reduced, you can follow a physiotherapy program as recommended by your shoulder specialist and then start practicing correct posture.Ignoring advice on good posture can affect your overall health, and set you up for shoulder strain, back pain and even joint damage. Even if you try to dismiss the discomfort for a while your body will keep trying to get your attention.
It is very important to teach correct posture to children as well. These days most of the kids are seen to be glued to mobile phones, television, tablets etc. It is best to reduce the screen time of kids. It is even more important to teach them right posture if they are using these devices. For kids, the muscles on their neck are not very well developed and thus they have comparatively high chance of getting these painful joint conditions.
To prevent shoulder pain in the first place it is important to rest enough to allow your body to heal and renew from everyday stressors. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can also keep your body fueled with the nutrients it uses to function.If you’re experiencing aches and pains, try avoiding smoking. Smoking can affect blood circulation to the shoulder and body.
We at Bangalore Shoulder Institute help you to either learn correct posture to prevent any shoulder and neck problems, or help you with the treatment of shoulder pain.
If you have any questions related to shoulder pain, shoulder pain treatment, shoulder inflammation, right posture etc drop a message to Dr Ayyappan VNair, Consultant (Shoulder Surgery & Sports Trauma)