Athletes usually complain of shoulder pain associated with the soft tissues that surround it. The frequency of complaints tends to increase with age, where they have a leading degenerative nature and are associated with joint wear. The shoulder joint is a complex joint that connects the shoulder blade, clavicle and humerus into a single functional system. It features a large volume of movement and complex dynamic stabilization. The complexity of its structure and function from a biomechanical point of view requires detailed knowledge in order to make an accurate diagnosis. This is important because shoulder pain can be a symptom of a number of other diseases that require a completely different treatment approach.
Shoulder pain origin and classification
Shoulder pain can be a symptom of a number of nosological units. Often in young people it is the result of an acute traumatic moment or sports microtrauma. In older patients it occurs after loading with unusual movements, static forced position, hypothermia and others. In both cases in the clinical picture we have night pain and morning stiffness. There is limited joint mobility as a result of inflammation of the soft structures and / or degenerative changes. In musculoskeletal pathologies, pain is leading, and in arthropathies and post-fracture conditions, limited joint mobility is leading. The origin of shoulder pain is complex and can be associated with various pathologies. The group of musculoskeletal pathologies includes: degenerative / tendinitis, ruptures of the rotator cuff / traumatic / contusions, dislocations, fractures / and inflammatory / arthritis. The group of neurological includes peripheral pathologies such as root compressions of disc herniations, spondylosis, cervical rib syndrome, traction and others. These are the two main groups, but without going into details we can add vascular problems, CNS pathologies and reference viscero-somatic pain, which can be cardiac, biliary and diaphragmatic.
Types of shoulder pain
The pain symptom can have different characteristics. It can be described as sharp, sudden, dull, burning or stabbing. Although the most common symptom, pain is not the only one. Here are some common ones:
- weakness and inability to move
- swelling, stiffness, deformation
- discoloration due to abrasions
Diagnosis and treatment
Diagnosis and treatment are carried out after an accurate diagnosis by an orthopedist. The examination includes diagnosis, examination, palpation and testing of the joint. If necessary, you can be directed to imaging studies such as X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging. Radiography provides information about bone structures and their configuration relative to each other. Magnetic resonance imaging is the most informative imaging study that can provide clarity about the condition of soft tissues. Treatment includes anti-inflammatory and analgesic and the patient is referred to physiotherapy and kinesitherapy. They play a major role in the patient’s recovery and the functional recovery of the joint depends on their adequacy. The recovery plan is individual and depends on the severity of the pathology and the degree of involvement of the structure and function.