Shoulder Pain that Limits Exercise

Patient

Q: I have bad shoulder pain and had surgery a couple years ago on my neck c5 c6 now the pain is similar but had my neck looked at its fine. The doctor thinks i have a rotator cuff problem my systems are pain in the top of the shoulder and the shoulder blade i also have a slight click when i move my right arm. Any idea what type of shoulder injury this may be? The pain is bad and i am limited on exercise.

Doctor

A:   There are several causes of shoulder pain; one of the most common is the Rotator Cuff tendinitis and this seems to correspond with the description that you made of your pain. The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that support the shoulder. These tendons can be injured during lifting, when playing sports with a lot of throwing, after repetitive use over a long time or suffer degenerative changes with the aging process. Typically, presents with an activity related dull ache in the upper outer arm and shoulder. Activity is commonly more difficult and painful above the shoulder level (more than 90 degrees). There is little or no discomfort with below-shoulder-level activities (less than 90 degrees) such as golf, bowling, gardening, writing, or typing. But, tennis, baseball/softball, basketball, swimming, and painting are more problematic and painful.
Conservative treatment of the Rotator Cuff tendonitis involves: physical therapy to control pain and keep range of motion of the shoulder, avoidance of painful movements and activities; anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e.: “Advil”, “Aleve”). If there is poor or no improvement, then, local corticosteroid injection may be considered.

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