The shoulder is the superhero of the human body: it’s the most flexible and complex joint in our body and has the greatest range of motion. From getting dressed to exercising, we rely on our shoulders every single day—this means they’re incredibly prone to injuries!
There are four major categories of shoulder problems: arthritis, fractures, instability and tendon tears & inflammation. Other injuries sustained by overuse and trauma also result in terrible pain and tenderness. In this article, we’ll focus on the first three categories.
Commonly known as wear and tear, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of shoulder arthritis. Caused by abnormal pressure from misalignment, overuse or accidents, it occurs when soft cartilage in the joints break down. With nearly 1 in 3 persons over 60 years old with the condition, it’s incredibly common. If you have shoulder OA, you may feel stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint.
The good news is that shoulder OA can be managed and even prevented or delayed!
- Increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods (vegetables, Omega 3-rich foods, ginger), cut out sugar & processed foods and take glucosamine & curcumin supplements to nourish your joints.
- Use ice-pack therapies and over-the counter medications to relieve discomfort.
- Partaking in pain-free, range-of-motion exercises also help alleviate pain.
- Seek chiropractic treatment.
Did your shoulder pain start after a bad fall or accident? If so, you may have broken shoulders! Most shoulder fractures happen in the humerus and collarbone. These fractures cause lots of pain even without movement and bruising & swelling will be visible.
To recover from a fracture, it’s crucial to rest. Should your fracture be unstable, put your shoulder in a cast. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to stimulate fusion and recovery.
It may sound gruesome, but “popping your shoulders back in” is very real for those who have hypermobility syndrome or a history of shoulder dislocation.
Our shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint and one of the most dynamic joints. However, if you have shoulder instability, you may feel that your shoulder isn’t “sitting in the right place” or aligning well in its socket. Dull aches or occasional sharp pain will often follow.
Shoulder instability treatment involves engaging more frequently in proprioceptive and strength training and avoiding activities that involve extreme ranges of joint movement. Good exercises include shoulder wall ball stability and push-ups.
In the next article, we’ll look at the last category of shoulder pains—tendon tears and inflammation issues.