Your complete guide to know about shoulder pain and how to deal with it

About the Shoulder

The anatomy of the shoulder makes it the largest joint in the body. It has a ball and socket structure and is formed when the humerus fits into the scapula. There are many other important bones involved like:

1. Humerus (the upper arm bone)

2. Acromion (roof of the shoulder)

3. Clavicle (the collarbone)

4. Scapula (the shoulder blade)

5. Coracoid Process (a bony knob of the Scapula)


Shoulder Joints

There are 4 main joints that constitute a shoulder:

1. Glenohumeral Joint (primary shoulder joint)

2. Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint

3. Sternoclavicular Joint

4. Scapulothoracic


Other important structures that are a part of the shoulder are:

1. Rotator Cuff - which is a collection of muscles and tendons. This gives the shoulder a wide range of motion.

2. Bursa - Sac of fluid that extends protection to the tendons through cushioning.

3. Labrum - A cup-shaped ligament that fits the head of the Humerus.

4. Articular Cartilage - Covers the ends of the bones at every joint.

5. Deltoid Muscle - Largest muscle of the shoulder that helps to lift the arm.

6. Nerves - 3 main nerves called the radial nerve, the ulnar nerve, and the median nerve carries the signals from the brain to the shoulder muscles that help to move the arm.


Parts of the Shoulder that are Prone to Injuries

The shoulder is a complex body part with an extensive structure and multiple parts involved that make it operational. But there are a few parts that are extremely susceptible to injuries:

1. Scapula - shoulder blade that is prone to dislocation

2. Glenohumeral Joint - prone to tear due to sudden jerks

3. Rotator Cuff - prone to tendon tears


Types of Shoulder Injuries

Being an extensively used body part, there are a lot of injury types that the shoulder can be involved in:

1. Rotator Cuff Tear - One of the most common shoulder injuries in which the tissues that connect the muscle to the bone (tendons) get torn. Common symptoms include pain and weakness in the shoulder.

2. Instability - A condition that is one step prior to dislocation where the shoulder joint is loose and the shoulder is prone to slide about in the socket.

3. Tendonitis - Inflammation injury to the shoulders’ tendons caused by recurring microtrauma to the rotator cuff.

4. Arthritis - Inflammation of one or more joints of the shoulder that causes pain and stiffness. Commonly occurs in seniors due to natural wear and tear.

5. Dislocation - Type of shoulder injury in which the upper arm bone comes out of the socket of the shoulder blade due to sudden trauma to the shoulder such as serious accidents.

6. Bursitis - This is the inflammation of the bursa sac that helps to lower the friction in your shoulder spaces.

7. Frozen Shoulder - Condition which causes extreme stiffness in the shoulder joint. This develops on its own due to lifestyle issues and gradually worsens.

8. Impingement - A complex condition in which the shoulder rotator cuff tendons are intermittently trapped when the shoulder moves.

9. Labral Tear: An accident or sudden movement that causes a tear in the Labrum. They often heal themselves with extensive care.


Major Causes of Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries can occur due to many intrinsic and extrinsic factors as follows:

1. Sudden and overzealous movements of the arm and shoulder

2. Immobilization of the shoulder joints/muscles for prolonged periods

3. Shoulder issues like Arthritis that tend to occur naturally due to old age

4. Extreme repetitive movements of the shoulder area. Constant extension of the arm above the head

5. Extensive activities like swimming and weightlifting

6. Depression, poor and improper sleeping postures, and stress

7. Local injuries due to accidents


Common Sports Shoulder Injuries

There are a lot of shoulder injuries that can occur due to popular sports:

1. Bicep Tendonitis: Athletics and any sport with extreme repetitive movements.

2. Thrower’s Shoulder/Rugby Shoulder: Throwing sports like Rugby, Cricket, and Handball.

3. Rotator Cuff Tendinitis: Common in players of Cricket, Swimming, and Tennis.


Shoulder Injuries Due to Age

Age is a leading factor that contributes towards some serious shoulder injuries as the body becomes weak and muscles/bones become prone to injuries. Here are some of the most common ones:

1. Rotator Cuff Tendonitis or Rupture

2. Subacromial Impingement

3. Frozen Shoulder

4. Acromioclavicular Joint Osteoarthritis


Symptoms, Treatment, and Management of Shoulder Injuries

1. What are the key symptoms of serious shoulder injuries?

Major Shoulder injuries are accompanied by some of the following symptoms:

1. Pain in the shoulder area

2. Difficulty in raising the arm overhead

3. Weakness of the shoulder area

4. Restricted shoulder motion

5. Difficulty in reaching the back

6. Swelling in the shoulder area

7. Stiffness in the shoulder area

8. Tenderness in the shoulder area


2. How can shoulder pain be treated? What are the best remedies?

Although it is advisable to see the doctor in the case of persistent shoulder pain, here are some effective remedies that you can try:

  • Ice the Shoulder: Ice is a natural remedy against inflammation and if this has been the reason for the pain, it will subside to some extent. 
  • Local Heating: Try heating the shoulder area through a heating pad or some gentle exercises. 
  • Salt Bath: Epsom Salt bath can help to reduce shoulder pain by increasing blood circulation. 
  • Massage: Gently massaging the affected area also reduces the stress and tension. 

If the pain exceeds normal limits and you are not able to handle it under ordinary circumstances, it is advisable that you visit the doctor to seek professional advice. Here are some exercises that can be followed during rehabilitation:

  • Arm-across-chest Stretch - Pull your right arm across your chest by reaching the left elbow. Do the same with your left arm and right elbow. Repeat 3-5 times. 
  • Neck Release - Bring your chin down to your chest until your neck stretches. Lean your head to the left and right. Repeat 3-5 times. 
  • Seated Twist - Sit in a chair and twist your torso to the right by placing your left hand on the outside of the right thigh. Repeat with both sides. 


Shoulder Support Equipment

Different types of shoulder equipment are available in the market that provides a varying degree of support to the shoulders:

  • Shoulder Stabilizer: Stabilizes the shoulder and useful primarily during post-injury rehabilitation sully-shoulder-stabilizer


          Shoulder Stabilizer


  • Shoulder Brace: Provides extended stability and support to the affected area 

         Shoulder Brace

  • Shoulder Cryo/Cuff: Completely covers the shoulder area and is thus useful during advanced conditions like dislocation that require extensive recovery assistance. 

            Shoulder Cuff

  • Shoulder Wrap: Useful in the case when persistent cold therapy is needed to the shoulder. 

             Shoulder Wrap

  • Shoulder Pad: Useful as a precautionary measure for people indulging in contact sports where there are high chances of injuries. 

             Shoulder Pad

  • Clavicle Posture Support: Helps to gently relieve hunched shoulders and improve the posture of the shoulders.

             Clavicle Posture Support

Before buying the shoulder aid, make sure that you understand the level of support that your shoulder needs by contacting your doctor and then choose your support type.

Best Shoulder Supports in India

1. Ortho Electric Heating Belt/Shoulder - Royale Range - Activeheat

Heating Belt Shoulder

The Royale Range Activeheat shoulder heating pad from Vissco is a great product in the market when it comes to relieving the affected shoulder area by providing localized heat. It is installed with an efficient and easy to use a controller that automatically avoids overheating. This makes it beneficial for patients who are bedridden and cannot make frequent trips to the physiotherapy centre. It is easy to carry, durable, and long-lasting.

Doctor’s Advice: Suitable for patients suffering from Frozen shoulders. 


2. Shoulder Support (Neoprene) - Tynor

Shoulder Support

This shoulder support from Tynor helps to keep the shoulder joint warm and flexible and aids in fast-tracked healing of the affected area. The material of the support is extremely comfortable to wear since it is made of high-quality neoprene and offers controlled compression. The neoprene bonded nylon fabric provides a better pain-relieving feature. It is available in multiple sizes including regular and special sizes.

Doctor’s Advice: Best for usage in ailing shoulders due to accidental or sports-related injuries. 


3. Pro- Zero motion - Shoulder Immobilizer (Adult) - Vissco

Shoulder Immobilizer Adult

This shoulder support from Vissco is high in quality and is aimed at providing perfect immobilization to the shoulder joint. The ergonomic design of the product makes sure that stress on the affected tissues is reduced and healing rate is maximized. The shoulder straps make it easy to extend support to the shoulder and impart perfect immobilization. The material of the strap is skin friendly, comes with ergonomic support, is cotton elastic, and is anti-fungal.

Doctor’s Advice: This product is best suited for conditions like Postoperative immobilization of the shoulder joint, Shoulder dislocation, Post Rotator cuff repair, Fracture of the Humerus, and Muscle and tendon injuries. 


4. New Elastic Shoulder Immobilizer - Vissco

Elastic Shoulder Immobilizer

This new elastic shoulder immobilizer from Vissco is a comfortable wear and a multipurpose product to use. The shoulder strap has been manufactured with a soft material that is user-friendly and fit especially for senior citizens, especially during post-surgical care. This is because minimal hand and shoulder movement is permitted in such situations.

Doctor’s Advice: This elastic product is fit for shoulder dislocation and shoulder pain and works well in case of major injuries. Works best for the elderly. 


5. Orthopaedic Heating Pad For Shoulders - Expressions

Heating Pad For Shoulders

This Orthopedic Heating Pad is unique in the sense that it can provide extensive support to the shoulder by heating the localized painful area. It can be used on the shoulder, neck, and also the back. There are 2 heat levels to choose from to customize according to your needs. High-grade insulation retains the generated heat for a long time. Not only this, but it is also loaded with an LED thermostat indicator. The product is extremely power efficient and makes sure that there are no side effects involved.

Doctor’s Advice: Provides relief from conditions like shoulder muscular pains, abscesses, and boils. Can also be used for joints, knees, and elbows. 


6. Shoulder Immobilizer - Vissco

Shoulder Immobilizer

The Shoulder Immobilizer from Vissco is perfect for the elderly to be used as a precautionary measure to protect against fractures, arthritis and dislocation of the shoulder joint. It comes with an extensive cushioning effect around the neck area. It has been made from a reliable and comfortable fabric and can be easily worn every day under your normal clothing. It is perfect to provide aid in the case of shoulder prosthesis by providing all-day warmth to the upper part of the shoulder.

Doctor’s Advice: This immobilizer is useful to be used in the case of shoulder dislocation, lesions of the rotator cuff, subcapital fractures, postoperative immobilization, and support during a fractured clavicle.


7. Shoulder Immobilizer Brace - Vissco

Shoulder Immobilizer Brace

Medical conditions of the shoulder are common in aged people where fractures, dislocation, and arthritis can strike anyone at any time. This shoulder brace from Vissco provides relief by limiting the movement of the shoulder joint. In addition, it also comes with additional cushioning effect around the neck area to provide extended support. The brace can be worn in tandem with everyday clothing so that it does not restrict your day to day lifestyle.

Doctor’s Advice: This is best for use while treating shoulder dislocation, lesions of the rotator cuff, subcapital fractures of the humerus, and Scapular fractures.


8. Neoprene Shoulder Brace With 4 Bioflex Magnets - Vissco

Neoprene Shoulder Brace

This unique entry from Vissco is a great product that comes with a flexible, durable, and water-resistant head-band to elevate muscular pain. It also comes with the necessary compression feature to remove the pain point from the shoulder. The circulation of the blood in the affected area is increased with the help of a heat retention feature that causes the pain to reduce. The perfect anatomical fit increases the comfort quotient and conforms to the shape of the shoulder of the wearer.

Doctor’s Advice: This shoulder brace is effective against conditions like muscular pain, including the frozen shoulder. 

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