Shoulder pain can strike anyone at any time.
Whether you're a javelin-throwing athlete, a weight-lifting gym bunny or a mom picking up a hefty toddler at the wrong angle, no-one is immune from the possibility of straining or damaging this vital, complex area of the body, with its joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves all capable of succumbing to the stresses placed on them.
There are two basic degrees of shoulder pain - acute or chronic. Acute shoulder pain has a sudden onset and lasts temporarily, for example when a muscle is strained.
Chronic shoulder pain may come on more gradually but persists for an indefinite amount of time. Acute pain can develop into chronic pain, especially if not treated correctly at the time of onset.
Shoulder pain should never be ignored as early treatment is the best way to avoid prolonged problems, while occasionally pain can indicate a more serious condition.
Some of the more common causes of shoulder pain include:
Tendonitis - tiny tears in the tendon causes the area to become inflamed, often related to sport activities or work-related strain
Rotator Cuff Shoulder Pain - can be caused by the natural aging process, this affects the rotator cuff which is the group of muscles and tendons that provide the shoulder with its circular motion
Bursitis - the bursa are small, slippery sacs which reduce friction between these soft tissue and bone. If the bursa becomes inflamed due to repetitive motion, for example in manual labor or similar routine jobs, bursitis can result.
Arthritis - most commonly found at the site of an old injury.
Shoulder Pain Treatments
The importance of early diagnosis cannot be stressed enough. The sooner the correct treatment is begun, the sooner the pain can be alleviated and managed, and the chances of further problems are enormously reduced.
The types of shoulder treatments available include surgery, allopathic, and alternative therapies.
Allopathic Shoulder Pain Treatment
Depending on the severity of your pain, and its causes, Pharmaceutical treatments for shoulder pain can be obtained over-the-counter, such as aspirin, or with a doctor's prescription. Your doctor will be able to recommend the right kind of medication depending on his diagnosis. For example, some conditions do not respond to anti-inflammatories while others respond extremely well. Do not try and guess, ask your medical practitioner.
Remember that many drugs carry the risk of side effects which can be quite severe, such as heart disease, digestive disorders, ulcers and liver damage. This is especially true with long-term use. Make sure you are aware of the risks and discuss alternatives with your doctor if you are unhappy with his proposed medication.
Also keep in mind the risk of addiction with certain long-term medications.
It is important to understand that medicines usually manage pain rather than cure the cause. This is especially true of degenerative conditions.
Physical Therapy is often prescribed along with medication to alleviate shoulder pain. A wide variety of treatments from heat therapy to massage are offered by registered physiotherapists, with a wide range of success being reported, from excellent to fair. Physiotherapy is most helpful in treating shoulder pain so as to prevent frozen shoulder, when the patient stops using the shoulder due to pain and then the muscles seize up, compounding the problem.
For those patients who prefer a more natural approach there is a wide range of alternative treatments available for shoulder pain. These methods of treating shoulder pain are generally more conservative than the standard medical approach, and often just as, if not more, effective.
You can choose from Acupuncture, Chiropractic Massage Therapy and Naprapathy. Check that the practitioners are registered and properly qualified. Many doctors now happily refer their patients to alternative professionals themselves.
Shoulder Pain Surgery
If all else fails you may be faced with the option of surgery. This should always be a last resort, as the results are not guaranteed. Surgery offers limited relief for certain conditions. Also, there are some risks to be taken into consideration. Discuss all your options with your surgeon before making the decision to go ahead with this option.
Also see Shoulder Pain Causes
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