What causes shoulder pain without injury?Shoulder pain without injury has several different causes ranging from nerve problems, muscle problems, tendinitis, bursitis, and arthritis. Most of the problems that arise with the shoulder come about because of its ability to move through many different planes. It is this versatility that leads to venerability and pain.
How muscle problems can cause shoulder pain without injury.Your shoulder is the only joint that can move in a full 360 degrees. In order for the shoulder to have such wide range of motion, it needs muscles that secure it while traveling through these movements.
How tendinitis causes shoulder pain without injury.tendinitis is one of the main culprits of shoulder pain without injury. The pain is from inflammation in the tendon usually caused by instability described above. When the joint is unstable the tendons get pinched creating inflammation. There can also be fraying of the tendon and tendon sheath which further weakens and destabilizes the joint creating a vicious cycle. A few orthopedic tests can tell a trained professional if this is the problem.
How bursitis causes shoulder pain without injury.Around each of your joints there are fluid filled sacs called bursa. These sacs function to cushion any friction that occurs during movement of the joint. During times of high friction and tissue damage either from repetitive use or fragile tissue, the sacs swells as white blood cells swarm the area to repair the damaged tissue. The result is an inflamed bursa which then press on the surrounding areas making even small movements challenging.
How arthritis causes shoulder pain without injury.
There are two types of arthritis, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, both of which can help explain why you have shoulder pain with injury. However, arthritis in the shoulder is not very common. Most people that get arthritis in the shoulder have a history of overuse (think body builders, pitchers, quarterbacks) or previous traumatic injury. If you fit in this category, you might want to get an X-ray to rule this out as a possibility.
Will I need surgery if I have shoulder pain without injury?If you go see a surgeon about your shoulder pain, the likely answer will be "you need surgery." While we try not to let bias creep into the way we practice medicine, there is always going to some level of bias. Still, if you have the option to avoid surgery you should. That is not to say it can always be avoided but in most cases surgery can be delayed or prevented all together by using non-surgical means. This is especially true for shoulder pain without injury.
What are the treatment options for shoulder pain without injury?
Like any treatment, the options are going to depend on the cause of the pain. With tendinitis, bursitis, and weakened rotator cuff the treatment is going to be similar. First reduce the inflammation, then strengthen the rotator cuff tendons. This can be easier said than done and does require diligence on the side of the practitioner and patient alike.
Reducing inflammation in shoulder pain without injury.
The inflammatory process is needed for our bodies to repair damaged tissue and so it can be replaced by new healthy tissue. Problems arise when the body never receives a signal to down regulate the inflammatory process. With this the body is in continuous tissue repair mode. With no tissue to repair, the healthy tissue will be attacked like it were damaged. When this happens, you end up with a chronically inflamed shoulder. Medication can both help an hinder this process.
Some medications (like cortisone) act to stop the inflammatory process in its tracks but don't allow the body to repair the tissue. With these the area becomes weakened and more susceptible to injury because there is no tissue repair. What you want for the injured area is a medicine that modulates the inflammatory process.
Inflammatory modulators for shoulder pain.
Inflammatory modulators are most commonly seen in the form of single herbs or combinations of herbs. So what is a modulator? When it comes to inflammation, a modulator is something that can both increase inflammation or decrease it. When inflammation is high modulators will decrease the inflammation and when low they will increase it. This is key when it comes to the shoulder because you want something that helps repair the damaged area but also helps turn off inflammation once the repair is done. Some of my favorite modulators are Turmeric, Licorice, and traumeel. When injected into the problem areas, traumeel has proven to have amazing results. Once the inflammatory process and pain are under control, you can start physical therapy to strength the weakened tendons. With persistence, the tendons and shoulder will become strengthened.