Shoulder pain is very common condition in orthopaedic clinic setting. This page will try to explain the causes of shoulder pain.
First of all, we need to always remember that shoulder pain can be a referred pain from the cervical spine which has to be excluded by the doctor before he carry on treating the shoulder, and this is usually very easy after simple questions to the patient and simple clinical examination.
Shoulder pain can be divided into causes related to the joint itself, and causes related to the soft tissue around the joint.
Causes related to the joint itself is mostly related to inflammatory process in the joint like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteonecrosis, or may be related to joint trauma causing cartilage injury. Shoulder instability is another reason of shoulder joint pain when the joint tries to dislocate and this can cause pressure on the joint component and the soft tissue around it.
Acromioclavicular joint which is a joint between the end of clavicle and the acromion is another joint which can be affected by these conditions.
Causes of shoulder pain related to the soft tissue around the shoulder can be in relation to rotator cuff tendinitis and rotator cuff tears and may also be related to bursitis in the subacromial area and around the biceps tendon. Shoulder pain can also be related to frozen shoulder which is an inflammatory condition affecting the capsule of the shoulder joint and known as adhesive capsulitis.
Shoulder pain is usually treated after establishing the cause and the surgeon would be able to advise whether Conservative treatment or surgical treatment is required according to the case, and the intensity of the symptoms.
Most of the shoulder pain cases are treatable with the help of Conservative management including medication and physiotherapy, arthroscopy of the shoulder or shoulder replacement surgery as a final surgical treatment.