Shoulder issues?
Causes, Symptoms, & When to contact a Doctor

Recognizing shoulder pain symptoms, including rotator cuff injury, frozen shoulder, bursitis, and shoulder impingement.

Shoulder complaints encompass various discomforts, including shoulder pain, shoulder blade pain, neck and shoulder pain, and shoulder injuries. This pain may manifest during daily activities, affecting work, sports, and even sleep. The pain can be sudden or gradual, often worsening when raising your arm. It may radiate to the shoulder blades, neck, elbow, or fingers, disrupting sleep and hindering tasks like lifting, exercising, or household chores.

To alleviate shoulder complaints, maintaining movement is crucial. While exercising your shoulder and arm, avoid forceful actions, heavy lifting, and prolonged arm positions overhead. If pain persists, give your shoulder brief rest, then gradually resume activities. Cold or warm compresses may provide relief, but note that they won't expedite recovery.

In case of persistent pain, over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol can be effective. NSAIDs such as naproxen or ibuprofen may be considered with caution, consulting your healthcare professional if you're over 60, have existing health issues, or take other medications. Physical therapy or exercise therapy can assist in managing persistent complaints. For severe pain, a corticosteroid injection might be recommended, providing anti-inflammatory relief.

Still worried? Consult a GP!

Understanding shoulder pain causes such as tendinitis, arthritis, labrum tear, and dislocated shoulder

The origin of shoulder complaints varies, often linked to repetitive movements (e.g., sports or computer use), heavy lifting, or prolonged overhead work. Factors like joint wear (osteoarthritis), neck issues, age, and stress contribute. Conditions such as calcium deposits or tears in shoulder tendons may be detected with an ultrasound. It's crucial to recognize and modify activities causing discomfort, seeking alternatives when necessary.

  • Repetitive Movements: Consistent activities like tennis or prolonged computer mouse use can lead to shoulder complaints.
  • Heavy Lifting: Tasks involving heavy lifting put strain on the shoulder, contributing to discomfort and potential injuries.
  • Prolonged Overhead Work: Jobs requiring arms consistently above the head, such as painting a ceiling, may result in shoulder complaints.
  • Joint Wear (Osteoarthritis) Wear and tear on the shoulder joint, known as osteoarthritis, can lead to pain and reduced mobility with age.
  • Neck Issues: Problems in the neck, including pain or stiffness, can contribute to shoulder complaints due to their interconnected nature.
  • Age: Advancing age is a factor in shoulder complaints, as joints and tissues naturally wear, becoming more susceptible to discomfort.
  • Stress: Psychological stress at home or work can exacerbate shoulder complaints, highlighting the mind-body connection in musculoskeletal health.
  • Calcium Deposits or Tears in Shoulder Tendons: Conditions like calcium deposits or tears in shoulder tendons, detectable through ultrasound, may contribute to persistent discomfort.
  • Heart Attack (Rare): Rarely, shoulder pain may be linked to heart issues, characterized by sudden intense pain, nausea, and sweating, requiring immediate medical attention.

Still worried? Consult a GP!

Effective shoulder pain treatments, including exercises, physical therapy, surgery, and home remedies for relief.

If shoulder pain persists, despite self-care measures, or if you experience severe, worsening pain, consult a healthcare professional. Emergency signs, such as sudden intense shoulder pain with nausea and sweating, demand immediate attention—call your doctor, the emergency line, or visit the ER.

For pain relief, medications such as paracetamol or NSAIDs may be prescribed, accompanied by a gastroprotective agent. In persistent cases, a corticosteroid injection may be considered.

In summary, understanding and managing shoulder complaints involve recognizing symptoms, adopting self-care measures, modifying activities, and seeking professional guidance when necessary. Tailoring treatments to individual needs ensures effective pain management and a timely return to daily activities.

Note: While this comprehensive guide covers essential aspects of shoulder pain, individual cases may require personalized advice from healthcare professionals.

  • Sudden intense shoulder pain with nausea and sweating,: This symptom may be heart-related and requires immediate medical assistance. If you have these complaints, please immediately call your emergency services.

Still worried? Consult a GP!