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Shoulder joint is made up of three bones humerus, scapula, and clavicle. These bones are held in place by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Shoulder is the most widely used joint of our body as most of the activities done by our arms involve the use of shoulder joint. Shoulder joint moves with every movement of our arms. It allows a wide range of motion in the arm from scratching the back to throwing a ball.

Causes of Shoulder Ailments

Shoulder problems can occur due to variety of reasons including:

  • Shoulder problems can occur due to variety of reasons including:
    • fall on an outstretched arm
    • a direct blow to the shoulder
    • a direct blow to the shoulder
  • Manual labor and playing sports like cricket, throw ball etc.
  • Manual labor and playing sports like cricket, throw ball etc.
  • Poor posture during sitting, standing or lying down
  • Forceful twisting or rotating the shoulder beyond the normal range of motion
  • Excessive strain on the shoulder
  • Different types of arthritis (inflammation of joints and tissues) like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis etc.

Symptoms of Shoulder Ailments

The symptoms of shoulder ailments depend upon the disorder and its extent (acute or chronic), But in majority of the cases, patient complains of the following problems associated with the shoulder joint:

  • Pain in the shoulder joint with or without movement
  • Inability to move the shoulder
  • Swelling of the joint
  • Stiffness in the joint
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in the shoulder that may also be present in the arm
  • Weakness in the joint that makes it unable to move
  • Warmth in the joint
  • Limping
  • Restricted physical activity
  • Bruising
  • Loud popping sounds

These are just common symptoms but patient may have other symptoms too that should not be ignored as shoulder joint is one of the most important joint of our body. So anything that is not normal or is causing discomfort should be discussed with the doctor and treated accordingly.

Diagnosis of Shoulder Ailments

The diagnosis of shoulder ailments starts with a complete medical history of the patient. It is also required to consider family history of joint pains as some of these disorders run in families. This is followed by thorough physical examination of the joint to find any visible signs and assess its level of activity. In addition to these following diagnostic tests are almost always required to conclude the disorder:

  • X ray
  • Ultrasound
  • Bone scan
  • CAT scan
  • MRI
  • Arthroscopy
  • Biopsy

Treatment of Shoulder Ailments

Treatment of shoulder problems specifically depends upon the cause and extent of disorder. It is required to first evaluate the damage that has already occurred and simultaneously start the treatment that would prevent further damage. Treatment may include some of the following:

  • Medication: Oral or injectable medicines are given to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation e.g. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
  • Physical therapy: Various types of exercises and activities are advised to the patient so as to improve the joint movement and strength.
  • Compression bandage: Wearing compression bandages or casts to immobilize the shoulder joint.
  • Cortisone (steroid) injections: These are given to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Surgery: In cases of severely damaged shoulder joint that cannot be managed by any of the conservative ways, surgery can prove to be beneficial for the patient.