Painful shoulder injury
As a rule, a fracture is often the most painful shoulder injury, followed by other conditions of the nerves and tissues of the shoulder joint.
The shoulders enable us to perform various tasks such as lifting objects, pushing, throwing, and maintaining a good posture. These joints that also act as connecting links between the arms and trunk are often subjected to various injuries. Several movements occur at the shoulder joint. The ability for a varied range of motion at the shoulder comes at the cost of stability of the shoulder joints. Various structures including the muscles and their tendons, nerves, and blood vessels are present at the shoulder. The shoulder is made of two joints. One joint is between the shoulder blade (scapula) and collar bone (clavicle) called the acromioclavicular joint. The other joint is a ball and socket type of joint between the upper end of the bone of the arm (humerus) and shoulder blade. This joint is called the glenohumeral joint. It is one of the largest and most mobile joints in the body. Any of the structures at the shoulder can get injured or diseased, leading to pain, discomfort, and restricted range of motion.
Several injuries may occur at the shoulder causing considerable pain. The intensity of the pain may vary depending on the severity of the injury, structures injured, and individual’s pain-bearing capacity. Most shoulder injuries involve soft tissue structures such as the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves rather than the bone. Some of the most painful shoulder injuries include:
- Fracture: The bones involved in forming the shoulder joint may fracture (break) causing significant pain, swelling, deformity, and limitation of movement. The clavicle (collar bone) and humerus are most commonly involved in fractures. A fractured bone needs urgent medical attention.
- Shoulder instability: It may be seen especially in children and people involved in rigorous physical activities such as athletics. In children, the shoulder becomes stable with growth. In athletes, however, intense physical activity may stretch the muscles and ligaments at the shoulder joint beyond the normal limit. Shoulder dislocation or separation may occur following an accident, fall, or strenuous physical activity. It can lead to severe pain, bruising, swelling, and reduced shoulder movement. The treatment mainly involves giving rest to the shoulder, applying ice packs, taking pain medications, and wearing a sling to limit the movement at the shoulder. Physical therapy under an expert’s supervision aids quick and complete therapy. Severe injuries may need surgical intervention.
- Rotator cuff injury: A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that together form a covering around the head of the humerus (the upper end of the arm bone). It keeps the head of the humerus attached to the socket in the shoulder blade to facilitate movements such as lifting and rotating the arm. Rotator cuff tears are common injuries causing significant pain and disability in performing everyday tasks such as combing hair or getting dressed. Thus, medical attention is necessary for managing a rotator cuff tear. The doctor may prescribe rest, pain medications, steroid injections, and physical therapy. Surgical treatment is rarely needed.
- Impingement: This refers to the entrapment of the torn rotator cuff fibers between the bones of the shoulder. It is a painful and disabling condition requiring prompt medical attention.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Is the Most Painful Shoulder Injury? Related Articles
Dislocated ShoulderThe shoulder is the most often dislocated joint in the body due to its mobility. Dislocation occurs when the head of the humerus is dislocated from its socket. Symptoms and signs of a shoulder dislocation include nausea and vomiting, lightheadedness, weakness, and sweating. There are various methods of reducing a dislocation and returning the humeral head to its normal place. The method for reduction of a shoulder dislocation depends upon the type of dislocation, the patient, the situation, and the clinician's experience. Intravenous narcotics and muscle relaxants are often administered to relax the muscles and relieve pain.
Early Signs of Arthritis in ShoulderEarly signs and symptoms of arthritis in the shoulder include pain in the shoulder joint that's worse when lifting heavy objects, pain that radiates down the arm and shoulder joint sounds like grinding, clicking, and crackling.
Frozen ShoulderA frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is when the shoulder joint experiences a significant loss in its range of motion due to inflammation, scarring, or injury. Treatment involves anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injections, and physical therapy.
How Long Does a Deltoid Tear Take to Heal?Depending on the severity of your deltoid muscle tear, and if surgery is required, it can take weeks to months to heal.
What Is Kinesio Tape (KT)?Kinesio Tape is a latex-free hypoallergenic cotton fiber tape that is used in conjunction with the Kinesio Taping Method to move lymph fluids, change muscle tone, improve posture, and correct movement patterns. Kinesio Tape is used with many conditions, including shin splints, shoulder pain from bursitis and rotor cuff injury, ankle sprain, wrist pain, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, and TMJ.
Frozen ShoulderIt's got nothing to do with cold weather. It means your shoulder is jammed up. WebMD guides you through the causes of frozen shoulder and what you can do about it.
Shoulder and Neck PainShoulder and neck pain may be caused by bursitis, a pinched nerve, whiplash, tendinitis, a herniated disc, or a rotator cuff injury. Symptoms also include weakness, numbness, coolness, color changes, swelling, and deformity. Treatment at home may incorporate resting, icing, and elevating the injury. A doctor may prescribe pain medications and immobilize the injury.
Shoulder BursitisShoulder bursitis is inflammation of the shoulder bursa. Bursitis may be caused by injury, infection, or a rheumatic condition. Symptoms include pain, swelling, tenderness, and pain with movement of the shoulder joint. Treatment may involve ice compresses, rest, and anti-inflammatory medications and depends on whether there is an infection.
What Are Shoulder Muscles Called?Shoulder muscles are required for movements of the upper limb. They also give the shoulders their characteristic shape. The shoulder has multiple muscles. Shoulder muscles include the intrinsic muscles or scapulohumeral group, including the deltoid, teres major and four rotator cuff muscles. The extrinsic shoulder muscles are the trapezius, latissimus dorsi, levator scapula and rhomboids (rhomboid major and rhomboid minor).
What Helps Pain After Surgery?After surgery, it's important to work with your healthcare team to make your recovery as pain-free as possible. Communicate with your doctor and nurses to help them adjust your pain management plan.