What Causes Shoulder Pains? Part 1 | Dr Chen Tai Ho | Malaysia

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What Causes Shoulder Pains? – Part 1

by | Jul 19, 2015

Hi everyone, I hope you are continuing to have a lovely Raya break or holiday and are spending quality time with your friends and families. For today’s topic, I want to talk about an issue that affects plenty of people, especially those who are working – shoulder pains. These can range from slight aches to chronic pain.
Shoulder pain may be caused by several issues which include:
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Shoulder instability
  • Rotator cuff disorders
  • Acromioclavicular joint disorders

For today’s first part of the article, I will elaborate further on frozen shoulder and shoulder instability.

Shoulder pain can be caused by several issues (pic from deweyjonesmd.com)

Frozen shoulder
This is a perpetual stiffness of the shoulder that is painful, which limits the regular range of shoulder movement and makes it difficult to function. It usually occurs when the flexible tissue surrounded your shoulder joints swell and tighten up. As a result, there is less room for the bone of your upper arm in the shoulder joint, leading to more stiff and painful movement.

It can hamper your ability to perform simple tasks such as driving or carrying groceries – in the worst cases, some people are completely unable to move their shoulder! The symptoms tend to vary and can take months or even years to advance. However, the exact cause for it is not fully known and it mostly affects people over the age of 40. It is also possible to develop frozen shoulder syndrome as a result of diabetes but why this occurs is still unknown.

The exact causes of frozen shoulder are not full understood yet (pic from moveforwardpt.com)
It is more likely that you will develop frozen shoulder if you do not move your arms or shoulders for extended periods of time. For example, recovering from an arm injury or surgery may require you to keep it still for long periods of time – this may lead to developing frozen shoulder.
Shoulder instability

Your shoulder joint consists of a socket joint and a ball. The humerus  is the ball – this is the top of your upper arm bone – and slots into the socket of the shoulder blade. When the ball does not move freely in the socket, this results in instability. It might feel like a slipping or catching sensation in the shoulder, or may even lead to a complete shoulder dislocation when the ball is out of the socket!

Shoulder instability mostly affects individuals below the age of 35 (pic from medpic.org)
Symptoms of this condition can be vague, but include tingling, weakness, shoulder fatigue, numbness or a clicking, popping or locking sensation. However, if your shoulder is dislocated, you may experience severe pain, painful muscle spasms, limited movement or your arm being visibly put of position. This condition is common for people under the age of 35.
Shoulder instability can be either traumatic or atraumatic. The traumatic kind occurs when a sudden impact forces the shoulder out of place, often because of an accident or collision. Atraumatic shoulder instability is less abrupt, occurring gradually over a period of time and is often caused by repetitive motions such as throwing, swimming and more. This is more likely to affect active individuals who tend to play sports or exercise a lot.



Until next time, stay healthy!


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