The shoulder joint is a complex joint consisting of; a ball and socket joint formed by the ball at top of the humerus bone (the bone in the upper limb) and the socket being a cavity in the shoulder blade and also the joint where the collarbone and shoulder blade meet. This allows for the shoulder to move freely and the arms to fully rotate. The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the body and also consists of a collection of muscles which makes up the rotator cuff and this helps to keep the shoulder stable. Pain may be caused by damage to the rotator cuff, arthritis of the joint and nerve pain, amongst others.
Other conditions causing pain in the shoulder are bursitis and tendonitis. Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae within the shoulder. The bursae are small fluid-filled sacs located over the joints to provide a cushion between the bones and the tendons. Tendonitis is the inflammation of the tendon around the joint.
Occasionally, the shoulder joint can become dislocated, either partially or completely. This is where the ball from the joint comes out of the socket, either partially or completely. In both cases this can cause pain and severe discomfort although it is usually easy to treat. Treatment for a dislocated shoulder can include immobilisation of the joint using a sling, rest and ice. Gentle exercises from your consultant will be recommended and they will also be able to pop the ball back into place. Once this is done, the shoulder should return to normal straight away.
Treatments for other types and causes of shoulder pain will often start conservatively with pain medication, cold packs, ice, and also rest.
Your consultant will assess where the pain is originating from and treat you accordingly. Shoulder joint injections using a steroid can be extremely beneficial for those suffering shoulder pain, especially if the pain is due to inflammation of the bursae.
Physiotherapy will often be recommended once your medication has taken effect or injection therapy has been performed to ensure that the normal shoulder movement and mobility is improved and maintained. Contact us to arrange an initial assessment with our Consultant in Pain Medicine, Dr Stephen Humble.