Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is an umbrella term for pain in the shoulder area that can have many causes. The shoulder is an extremely complex joint. It is the most complex joint in the body and it has the greatest degrees of freedom of any joint in the body. This simply means that the shoulder joint is capable of more movement than any other joint in the body. Because of all of this freedom of movement of the shoulder, it is more susceptible to injury and other problems.

What is referred to as the shoulder is actually three joints, that are all responsible for support and movement of the shoulder. These are the sternoclavicular joint (where the sternum meets the collarbone), the acromioclavicular joint (this refers to the acromion, the top part of the shoulder blade where it meets your collarbone at the location of the very top of the shoulder joint), and the scapula-thoracic joint (not a joint per se in the sense that is commonly thought of as a joint, but refers to the junction of the underside of the shoulder blade with the thoracic cage thoracic cage.)

All of these joints have ligaments that hold them together and support them, and all of the muscles of the shoulder have tendons that provide attachment to the bone. The shoulder joint is encased in a capsule, a fibrocartilaginous balloon-shaped ring that helps to support and nourish the joint. Any of these structures, along with the blood vessels that supply them, can be injured and cause shoulder pain.

What Does Shoulder Pain Mean?

Having shoulder pain means that a structure in this area is either damaged, injured, or otherwise not functioning properly. Pain is a protective signal of the body warning you that something is not right and needs to be looked at. Shoulder pain can be from any or a combination of the conditions below:

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What Helps Shoulder Pain?

The most helpful thing to do for shoulder pain is to receive an accurate diagnosis from a physician as to what is causing the pain. Do not attempt to diagnose and treat yourself as you run the risk of worsening whatever condition may be causing the pain in the first place. If there has been an acute injury with an obvious cause as to what injured your shoulder, the first steps to take at home, if it does not increase pain, are always the RICE Protocol, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. When elevating the arm, try to place it above the level of your heart in order to facilitate blood flow.

Remember, at-home treatment can only do so much. If you believe your chronic knee pain is more serious, consult Dr. Burke Orthopedics, who is trained in caring for chronic knee pain conditions.

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