Shoulder Joint Pain When Lifting Arm

Shoulder Joint Pain When Lifting Arm – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What is Shoulder Joint Pain When Lifting Arm?

Shoulder pain mostly happens when a person has a sore or painful tendon which can also be described as a cord that links the shoulder muscles to the bone commonly of the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a portion of the shoulder that mainly assists in the circular movement of the arm. The sharp pain in the shoulders when lifting the arm may happen often when a person engages in activities such as, lifting heavy objects or even playing some sports. Any activity that may have involved the lifting of the arms and using of the shoulder muscles is a predisposing factor to this soreness of the shoulders on top of injuries picked from the daily human beings life.

Another known cause of the pain in the shoulders is due to the pain of the Subacromial bursa which is a part that contains some sort of fluid found on the upper part of the shoulder. The rotator cuff gets hurt and in turn, it becomes sore this way; the main joint of the shoulder is made up of the arm bone and the shoulder blade, while the joint socket is not deep which assists in the vast range of movement of the arm. The rotator cuff which comprises of 4 muscles that neighbour the arm bone, the cuff ensures that the shoulder stays intact as the arm moves.

On the upper part of the shoulder lies a type of muscle known as supraspinatus muscle, which has tendons that move beneath the bone on the exterior part of the shoulder or the acromion. The tendons of these muscles are often susceptible to injuries due to the fact that they are placed between bones. When the tendons are painful and swollen, the chance of being squeezed in-between the 2 bones is high. The part that contains the fluid that protects the tendon can also be injured in the process.

Shoulder Joint Pain When Lifting Arm Causes

  1. If the shoulder is dislocated after being pulled back with an excessive force or rotated too far.
  2. Having separation which is an injury that a joint known as acromioclavicular suffers where the collarbone and the shoulder blade come together separates.
  3. If a person falls or takes a hard hit and they fracture or break any of the shoulder bones. This mainly affects the clavicle and the humerus.
  4. Suffering from rotator cuff tear through the excess use or falling, which also get worn out and torn as a person age.
  5. Having frozen shoulder due to the unusual bands of tissue or adhesions that build up in the joints and prevent the free movements of the shoulders.
  6. When the rotator cuff get squeezed in the bones of the shoulders which causes swelling and pain. This condition is known as impingement.
  7. Being affected by bursitis, this occurs when the fluid sac in the shoulders gets swollen and causes irritation.
  8. Often the pain in the joints of the shoulder is due to excessive use of the arms to do repetitive activities which tends to make the tendons in the shoulders to become swollen, thus makes the tendons to be squeezed by the upper shoulder bones.
  9. A person engaging in sports that need them to excessively use their shoulders for any above the head or increased movement is the highest predisposing factor for being affected by the condition. The following activities have highly been attributed to shoulder joint pains; swimming, playing tennis and playing baseball.
  10. Careers that need a person to use a lot of heavy lifting or arm movements also add the risk of suffering from the shoulder joints pain. These occupations may include; being involved in construction works, carrying boxes, painting of walls, etc.
  11. For persons at their old age and have suffered from injuries in their youth, for example, dislocating their shoulders, are at a high risk of suffering from shoulder joint injuries.

On top of the above causes, having an oddly shaped acromion is another reason to cause shoulder joint pain.

Shoulder Joint Pain when Lifting Arm Symptoms

Normal swelling and pain in the front part of the shoulder are often caused by the pain from the rotator cuff pain. A person may suffer from soreness and difficulties while lifting the arm. Pain may also be experienced when a person lowers the arm from a raised position.
At the start of the condition the symptoms may not be so serious but mild, this may not prompt a person experiencing the mild symptoms to seek treatment. The mild symptoms that may manifest themselves from this condition may include;

  • Having a tiny pain that is felt while resting or when engaging in activities that require the use of the arms.
  • Soreness emanating from the front part of the shoulder up to the side of the arm being used.
  • Having abrupt pain in the shoulder joints when lifting and doing reaching for things movements.
  • For athletes who use their arms in sports that requires passing over the heads may suffer from the pain while throwing or serving the balls such as tennis ball while playing tennis.

As the condition accelerates, the symptoms become more severe too. A person may experience symptoms such as;

  • Having pain while sleeping at night in the shoulder joints of the arm.
  • Losing strength of the arms and movement of the arms.
  • Facing difficulties while engaging in chores that put the arm behind the back, for example, while zippering or buttoning a dress or a blouse.
  • The abrupt happening of the pain on the shoulders may become extremely tender, in turn, this may cause movements to be restricted and sore.

Shoulder Joint Pain When Lifting Arm Treatment

The type of treatment to be done will depend on the severity of the shoulder impingement. There are several types of treatment that can be availed, they include;

  • Practicing Home Care– This involves having adequate rest which is very important for treating the shoulder joint pain. A person should avoid exercises that strain their arms or motions that accelerate the shoulder pains, especially for the athletes. Do not use arm slings for this condition for it will make it more immobile. Placing ice packs on the shoulders for a period of 10 to 15 minutes several times in a day helps in the reduction of the soreness and swelling.
  • Having Physical Therapy– Shoulder impingement reacts perfectly to any physical therapy which involves the use of tender exercises in order to restore the arm’s power and range of motion. The physical therapy exercises mainly focus on the muscles found in the arms, shoulder, and chest which can assist in boosting the function of the rotator cuff.
  • Being Prescribed to Medication– The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, for example, ibuprofen can assist in the reduction of the swelling and pain felt in the shoulder. If they don’t give the required results when combined with ice and adequate rest, the doctor may insist on steroid injections to minimize the swelling and pain
  • Having Surgery– Which is mainly for widening the space around a person’s rotator cuff to allow its movement freely without being caught and squeezing on the bone. The surgery may be in the form of the minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery, while for the severe cases the traditional open surgery is needed. Surgery is done in the very rare case in the treatment of shoulder joint pain when lifting arm.
Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad

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