4 Possible Causes of Shoulder Pain

The shoulder joints are the most mobile joints in the body. Unfortunately, this mobility can make them vulnerable to injury, wear and tear, and other issues.

Board-certified rheumatologists Nathaniel Neal, MD, and Rebekah Neal-Kraal, MD, of Valerius Medical Group & Research Center in Los Alamitos, California, specialize in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal issues, including shoulder problems.

In this blog, they discuss four common causes of shoulder pain.

1. Polymyalgia rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory disorder that causes muscle pain and stiffness, usually in the shoulders and hips. Symptoms are often worse in the morning and after periods of rest. Pain tends to start one one side of the body before progressing to both sides. 

People with polymyalgia rheumatica can experience shoulder pain, stiffness, reduced range of motion, and fatigue. The exact cause of polymyalgia rheumatica is unknown, but the condition appears to be connected with genetics and immune-system issues. With polymyalgia rheumatica, symptoms often come and go.

2. Myofascial pain syndrome

Myofascial pain syndrome is a condition in which muscle fibers tighten in a certain area and form a knot, or trigger point. The trigger point can affect nearby nerves, and it can be sensitive and painful and may even cause pain at other locations along the affected nerves. 

Pain caused by myofascial pain syndrome can be persistent and may make it difficult to move your shoulder. 

3. Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory disorder that occurs when the immune system attacks cells in the joints. When this condition affects the shoulder, it causes swelling and pain. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints and can cause joint deformity. 

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect more than your joints. It can also damage your lungs, heart, eyes, and blood vessels. 

4. Glenohumeral arthritis

Glenohumeral arthritis is a condition in which osteoarthritis affects the glenohumeral joint. The glenohumeral joint is the shoulder’s ball and socket joint. Osteoarthritis is a wear-and-tear condition in which the cartilage wears away to the point where there’s bone-on-bone contact. 

Glenohumeral arthritis can restrict arm movement and make it painful to carry out normal activities, such as brushing your hair or lifting a cup from the cupboard.

Diagnosing shoulder pain

The highly skilled rheumatologists at Valerius Medical Group & Research Center use a systematic approach to diagnosing shoulder pain. They will consider your symptoms and medical history and perform any necessary imaging tests to make a diagnosis. 

Your treatment will depend on the cause of your shoulder pain. Common shoulder disorders are often treated with a combination of medication and physical therapy. Conservative therapies like these are usually considered first before discussing surgical options.

If you’re struggling with shoulder pain, the compassionate rheumatology specialists at Valerius Medical Group & Research Center can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.

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