Shoulder pain can arise at any age, but is usually more common in young athletes who use excess joint, such as tennis players or gymnasts, for example, and in the elderly, due to natural joint wear.
Usually, this type of pain is caused by a temporary inflammation of the shoulder structures and therefore can be relieved with the application of ice on site, disappearing 3 to 5 days after its onset.
However, in some cases, this pain can be very severe, worsen over time or not relieve, and it is recommended to consult an orthopedist to identify if there is any serious problem and start appropriate treatment.
This problem is caused by inflammation of the bursa, a cushion-like structure that protects the tendons and muscles of the shoulder bones during movement. This inflammation is most common in people who do repetitive activities with the arm, such as painting, swimming or training arms in the gym.
What it feels like: it is common the appearance of an acute pain in the upper or front of the shoulder, which worsens with the movement of the joint to comb the hair or wear, for example.
How to treat: Ice should be applied on site for 20 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day. If the pain does not improve after 2 or 3 days it is recommended to consult a doctor, as it may be necessary to take anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Diclofenac, or even start physiotherapy.
Tendonitis is a problem similar to bursitis, however, causes inflammation of the tendons of the shoulder rather than the bursa. In many cases, it may even arise accompanied by bursitis because its causes are also very similar, and can affect both types of structure at the same time.
What it feels like: this problem only causes pain in the front of the shoulder, especially when performing movements above the headline or stretching the arm forward.
How to treat: it is very important to do physiotherapy sessions to treat inflammation of the tendons. In addition, applying icy compresses and passing anti-inflammatory ointments also helps relieve pain.
Although it is more common in the elderly, this problem can also affect young adults, especially athletes who overuse the shoulder joint due to wear.
What it feels like: in addition to shoulder pain is common swelling of the joint and difficulty moving the arm. As arthritis is not a temporary problem, symptoms can get worse over time.
How to treat: treatment should be guided by an orthopedist because it is usually necessary to use anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen or Nimesulide, to relieve pain. Physiotherapy should also be used as it helps strengthen the joint and reduce inflammation by improving shoulder movements.
4. Adhesive capsulite
This problem, also known as frozen shoulder, is a chronic inflammation of the shoulder that makes joint movement very difficult. Adhesive capsulitis is more common in women over 40 years of age who have had their arm immobilized for more than 2 months.
What it feels like: in addition to pain, capsulitis causes an intense difficulty to move the arm, which gradually emerges. Learn which signs help identify this problem.
How to treat: it is recommended to do physiotherapy sessions to mobilize the shoulder and relax the muscles of the joint. In the most severe cases, surgery may be required to identify and repair possible shoulder injuries.
Although almost always easy to identify, fractures can also cause few symptoms beyond shoulder pain, especially when they have not occurred completely or are very small. The most common is the appearance of fractures in the clavicle or humerus due to falls or accidents.
What it feels like: fractures usually cause very severe pain, swelling and purple spots on the skin. However, when they are very small they can only cause a slight pain that increases to the longtime and that prevent arm movement.
How to treat: one should immediately go to the hospital to identify the fracture site, correct the bone and immobilize the arm in the correct way to facilitate healing. Find out which first aid in case of fracture.
How the diagnosis of shoulder pain is made
The diagnosis of shoulder pain should be made by the orthopedist, who during the consultation evaluates all the structures associated with the shoulder and the characteristics of the pain, such as intensity, location, whether it is stimulated by some specific movement and its frequency, for example. It is also seen by the orthopedist if there is any limitation of movement, such as difficulty in stretching the arm or lifting it above the head.
In addition, the doctor should be informed by the patient about life habits and the time when the pain began, as the pain may be related to repetitive movements, incorrect posture or swelling or inflammation of the joint due to sudden movement, for example.
To aid the diagnosis, the doctor may recommend performing imaging tests, such as x-ray, ultrasound, COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY, or MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING, which help identify the cause and extent of the lesion. The orthopedist may also indicate arthroscopy, which is a diagnostic and treatment technique in which the joint is visualized and corrected through small holes in the skin. Know what is and how arthroscopy is done on the shoulder.