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Common Shoulder Injuries

If you are suffering from shoulder pain, it is important to identify the condition you are suffering from in order to effectively treat the ailment. Of course, a medical doctor or physical therapist is your best bet for an accurate diagnosis, but if you can’t immediately make it into a doctor’s office, here is a quick checklist of possible ailments and recommended next steps.

Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement is a fairly common inflammation disorder, similar to tendinitis and arthritis. It is the result of wear and tear on the upper area of the shoulder blade due to excessive muscle movement. These injuries are especially common if you perform repetitive activities that require an overhead arm motion (think swimming, tennis, and baseball.) This repetitive movement leads to inflammation, which squeezes the rotator cuff and ultimately results in pain whenever the shoulder is raised. If you suspect you are experiencing shoulder impingement, seek out medical treatment. Shoulder blade inflammation can lead to more serious conditions over time if left unaddressed. In some cases, a soft shoulder brace can be used to help capture body warmth and reduce inflammation.

Frozen Shoulder

Adhesive capsulitis (better known as “frozen shoulder”) results when the tissues around the shoulder are damaged and develop scar tissue. The scar tissue restricts a normal range of motion and stiffens joints, making moving the shoulder very difficult. Frozen shoulder is often the result of an underused shoulder or rotator cuff. People may stop using a joint if they are experiencing pain, and under-utilization leads to tissue deterioration and even muscle atrophy. For this reason, it is important to seek treatment for chronic shoulder pain before frozen shoulder has the opportunity to set in. Many doctors can treat the pain as well as recommend exercises that will help maintain your shoulder’s full range of motion.

Torn Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff is a vitally important part of your shoulder and arm's functionality. It consists of a group of muscles and tendons that keep the shoulder and upper arm bone in place. Not only does it stabilize the shoulder, but it also helps you raise and rotate your arm in the socket. This injury is typically caused by a sudden strain or over-extension. There are three possible degrees of tearing, stages 1, 2 and 3, with stage 3 being the most intense and painful type of rotator cuff tear. The best treatment for a torn rotator cuff is immediate icing with a cold therapy system.

Dislocated Shoulder

A shoulder dislocation refers to when the arm bone pops out of the shoulder joint and is often the result of a sudden blow. These injuries are very painful and shoulders are, unfortunately, fairly easy to dislocate and yet difficult to treat. Always seek out medical attention when you dislocate your shoulder. The pain can be so intense that it overshadows other injuries, including potentially life-threatening issues such as internal bleeding.

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