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Causes and Treatment For Shoulder Pain

Updated on February 25, 2011

Shoulder Pain can be caused by a wide range of injuries or conditions. The shoulder joint itself is an extremely mobile joint with very low stability, leaving it open to injuries examined as dislocations. The shoulder girdle (the joint itself, plus the AC joint, scapula and surrounding muscles / ligaments / tendons) is so heavily involved in upper back and neck posture and so postural problems and muscle imbalances are so common shoulder issues.

In general, shoulder injuries can be divided into two categories:

   1. Acute (traumatic) injuries
   2. Overuse / postural injuries

Acute Injuries

Acute injuries are those that Occur as a result of a sudden force or movement at the joint. The individual will usually know exactly when the injury happened and can often describe the event. They often describe a sudden pain and sometimes a popping sensation or Clicking.

Acute injuries may include:

    * Shoulder dislocations
    * AC joint injuries
    * Rotator cuff tears
    Glenoid labrum injuries *
    * Clavicle fractures

Treatment of an acute injury should involve immediate rest and the application of cold therapy in the form of an ice pack or wrap. Taking the weight of the arm off the shoulder using a sling may then be recommended. Medical attention should then be sought to Determine the nature of the injury and the Appropriate course of treatment.

Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries are those where shoulder pain develops over a period of time, gradually becoming worse until the individual seeks medical attention. They usually can not pin point a specific incident Which caused the pain and quite often the pain is not easy to pin-point, with no specific border area. Overuse injuries are usually related to either poor posture or poor technique sporting (or any other activity), or both!

Common overuse injuries include:

    * Impingement syndromes
    * Rotator cuff tendinopathy
    * Bursitis

Treatment of an overuse injury is often more difficult than in acute injury. Initially the aggravating activity should be ceased to allow the tissues to involve rest. Soft tissue treatments and electro therapy may therefore be used to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as breaking down scar tissue and increasing muscle flexibility.

Once pain and inflammation have subsided, an exercise rehabilitation program is usually implemented to address any postural problems and muscle imbalances Which may have contributed to the injury. Other factors examined as poor technique, training errors and unsuitable equipment should therefore be corrected.


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