What is it?

Pain in the shoulder joint can result from a range of causes, including rotator cuff injuries, bursitis, tendinitis, osteoarthritis, frozen shoulder, dislocation, and other underlying conditions. It may be acute or chronic and can affect the ability to perform daily activities.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms associated with shoulder joint pain may include:

- Pain or discomfort in the shoulder joint that may be sharp, dull, or throbbing.
- Limited range of motion or difficulty moving the arm.
- Weakness or loss of strength in the affected shoulder.
- Swelling, tenderness, or warmth around the joint.
- Stiffness or inability to raise the arm fully.
- Clicking, popping, or grinding sensations during shoulder movement.

Diagnosis

To diagnose the cause of shoulder joint pain, a healthcare professional will typically perform a physical examination, review the patient's medical history, and inquire about the onset and nature of the pain. Diagnostic tests that may be ordered include:

- X-rays to evaluate the bones and joints for signs of injury or degeneration.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess soft tissues, such as tendons, ligaments, and the rotator cuff.
- Ultrasound to examine the soft tissues and assess blood flow.
- Arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure, may be performed to directly visualize the inside of the joint and diagnose certain conditions.

Treatment

The treatment for shoulder joint pain depends on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Common treatment options include:

- Resting the shoulder and avoiding activities that worsen the pain.
- Applying ice packs or heat therapy to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
- Physical therapy exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to manage pain and reduce inflammation.
- Corticosteroid injections for targeted pain relief and to decrease inflammation.
- Immobilization using slings or braces to provide support and protect the shoulder during the healing process.
- In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary, such as for severe rotator cuff tears, shoulder instability, or joint replacement for advanced osteoarthritis.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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