Shoulder pain is a very common reason for consulting a doctor. The shoulder is the most mobile of all our joints, and also the most used since it forms the connection between three different bones — the scapula, humerus, and clavicle. It is involved in a number of ordinary, everyday movements such as combing your hair, drinking a coffee, and driving a car, and these repetitive movements can weaken the shoulder.
The shoulder is also a highly complex joint as it is made up of several articulations, muscles, and tendons. Shoulder pain can therefore have a number of causes, which will determine how the pain should be treated. For this reason, it is important to consult a doctor if you have persistent shoulder pain.
Causes of Shoulder Problems
Due to the complexity of the shoulder’s anatomical structure, shoulder pain could come from a number of sources, such as the joints, tendons, muscles, nerves, or bones. In the vast majority of cases, it is caused by shoulder tendinitis, and inflammation in the muscle tendons that allow the shoulder to move (called “rotator cuffs”), which can be due to either the natural wear and tear that comes with aging, an acute pull or strain injury or repetitive strain (for example, from work-related activity or exercise involving repetitive movements).
A painful shoulder may also be linked to conditions such as bursitis or bone calcification, an injury (i.e. muscle and tendon tears, sprains, or dislocations, or humerus, shoulder blade, or collar bone fractures) or inflammatory disorders such as arthritis.
However, the pain can sometimes be due to a non-musculoskeletal cause that is unrelated to the shoulder, such as an infectious or neurological condition, or heart or lung problem, all of which can manifest as shoulder pain. This is why it’s important to talk to a doctor as soon as possible if you have persistent shoulder pain — he or she will be able to discern what may be the cause.
Symptoms of Shoulder Problems
Shoulder problems can manifest themselves in a number of ways:
- A pain in the shoulder that varies in intensity, which may or may not be present when you are resting and that worsens during strenuous activity
- A pain that radiates down your arm, sometimes as far as your hand
- Shoulder stiffness
- Swelling or edema (build-up of fluid)
- Reduction or loss of shoulder mobility
- Reduced function in your shoulder, arm, and/or hand
- A clicking or snapping sensation in your shoulder
- Given its impact on everyday movements, shoulder pain can quickly become disabling so it’s important to get it seen quickly.
Treatment for Shoulder Problems
Many patients have turned to Stem Cell Therapy as a better alternative to shoulder surgery, with an easier and faster recovery and with significantly fewer complications. Shoulder surgery is often recommended as a treatment for several shoulder pain conditions. However, as with most surgeries, shoulder surgery has some risks, including pain, blood clots, reactions to anesthesia, infections, or muscle loss. Also, it requires being hospitalized for a few days. The recovery from surgery may be relatively slow and painful, often requiring a period of several months with restricted use of the shoulder, followed by a period of physical rehabilitation that can last several months. In many cases, shoulder functionality may not be fully recovered after surgery, which can limit shoulder movements. Stem cell therapy is natural and easily delivered in a same day outpatient procedure, with results that often allow the patient to resume their previous activities within a few months.