Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is the third most common type of musculoskeletal pain, which strongly influences

the quality of life. The prevalence of shoulder pain varies and can reach up to 34%. This means

that approximately one third of adults are regularly suffering from shoulder pain and every other

office worker experiences neck or shoulder pain on a weekly basis.

Causes and risk factors

Most common causes of shoulder pain are various disorders of shoulder muscles and tendons.

Musculoskeletal disorders of the shoulder can be influenced by prolonged static body position,

especially related to work. This leads to continuous activity of low-threshold motor units,

reduced blood flow to muscles, accumulation of calcium and other changes in the muscle

fibers. Along with shoulder pain, prolonged static body position is also associated with frequent

headaches. Work-related shoulder pain is very common among occupational computer users and

other sedentary occupations. Many people experience shoulder muscle soreness after prolonged

computer work. In some cases, this soreness and pain may become chronic. Shoulder pain risk

factors include age, occupation, constant heavy lifting, sports or other frequent physical activity,

pervious injuries, such diseases as lupus, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout.

What should a person with the shoulder pain do?

Only in very rare cases shoulder pain is caused by serious disorders or diseases. Mostly it occurs

due to our daily routine and work. The pain can disappear without any treatment or effort.

However, if the pain continues, you should consider consultation with a pharmacist or physician.

The pharmacist may select an appropriate medication therapy or refer you to physician if needed.

Physician may recommend some other therapies in addition to medicines.

Conventional treatment

The conventional treatments for shoulder pain are:

• Medication;

• Physiotherapy;

• Corticosteroid injections.

The treatment of first choice for any type of mild or moderate pain is over-the-counter drugs

called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, neproxen, indometacin,

diclofenac, etc. Physical therapy should be balanced to use therapeutic modalities and help

control occurring pain or/and inflammation. Special exercises should be performed by a patient

at home which helps to strengthen the shoulder and increase its’ mobility. In worst case scenario

surgery may be needed. However, in many cases physician’s recommendation may only be ‘wait

and see’.

Self-help options

Some self-help options can be beneficial for reducing common shoulder pain. First of all, a

patient suffering from such pain must correct his/her posture while standing, laying down and

especially sitting. A person should avoid overhead and overload lifting in all possible cases until

and even after the pain improves. As mentioned before special exercises and physiotherapy is a

very important part of the pain and inflammation reduction. Topical application of cold or hot

packs or some anti-inflammatory gels may also be very helpful for fast pain relief.

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