What is shoulder pain?
In order to know how to make your shoulder stop hurting, we must understand what shoulder pain is. The most common cause of pain on the outside of the shoulder is a rotator cuff problem. Regarding the symptoms, rotator cuff problems are usually painful with activities such as reaching or throwing. In addition, the deep and painful shoulder pain from a rotator cuff problem tends to get worse or burst during the night.
Most shoulder problems only affect a small area and should last a relatively short time. But sometimes the problem in your shoulder may be part of a larger and longer-term condition, such as osteoarthritis or polymyalgia rheumatica. It is quite common for people with rheumatoid arthritis to have pain and swelling in their shoulders. Osteoarthritis is less likely to affect your shoulders than other joints, unless you have injured them in the past.
There are several other possible causes of shoulder pain, such as:
- inflammation, where the shoulder becomes hot, red, inflamed and painful as a natural reaction to an infection or injury
- Damage to the muscles and tendons around the shoulder.
- Tension in the muscles between the neck and shoulder: This is usually due to your posture in your upper back or neck and is often related to the way you stand or feel when you are using a computer or at work
- Inflammation in the bursa: a cushion filled with fluid that normally helps the muscles and tendons slide smoothly over the bones of the shoulder.
- Damage to bones and cartilage, which can be caused by arthritis.
What tests are there?
When learning how to make your shoulder stop hurting there are many different tests you can do to get some answers.
Blood tests are usually not necessary for most shoulder problems, but they are sometimes used to rule out other conditions, such as some types of arthritis.
X-rays are good for detecting problems with the bones of the shoulder and minor changes in the joints. However, small changes are quite common and may not be the cause of your problem.
X-rays can only show bones and other hard substances, but do not show lesions in soft tissues such as muscles.
An ultrasound can show inflammation, as well as damage and problems with the tendons, muscles or other soft tissues in the shoulder. It uses high frequency sound waves to examine and build images of the interior of the body.
For dislocations, separations and fractures, you need the help of a doctor to reposition the shoulder in the correct position and then a sling to keep it in place while it heals.
For many other problems, your doctor may suggest rest, heat or ice and a medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin to reduce pain and swelling.
If your shoulder does not improve after these first steps, your doctor may try to inject a corticosteroid (an anti-inflammatory medicine) directly into the joint to relieve swelling and pain.
Sometimes, tears in the shoulder joint, tears in the rotator cuff, and frozen shoulder do not improve with rest and medicine. Your doctor may recommend surgery.
With any problem in your shoulder, your treatment plan will probably include exercises to help you stretch and strengthen the joint and improve your range of motion.
A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machine (TENS) works by creating a tingling or buzzing sensation in the skin. This can help block or suppress pain messages in your brain. TENS Units also helps to stimulate our body to produce higher levels of our own natural painkiller, called endorphins.
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