As a kid, our family always joked about my shoulders. In elementary school, one of the requirements in physical education was climbing a rope. I could never do it. I admitted at the time that I was a wimp. I was a bit better by junior high when gym class offered a segment on tennis. I got to be pretty good, developing a great one-hand backhand although I never had a killer serve.
By middle age, I’ve found that my shoulders can still be a problem area if I’m not careful. Several years ago, I went geocaching with a friend in a wilderness area and she took us up a sharp hill to hunt for a cache. What comes up must come down, which meant I had to negotiate a steep decline after looking for the cache. I grabbed a tree to help stabilize my descent; that seemed to go well at the time, but a few days later, I was in pain. The discomfort lasted for a while and, while not formally diagnosed, it’s taken some targeted massage therapy and some focused exercises to re...
My shoulder hurts...is it osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a very common problem. Most people know someone who is dealing with arthritis of at least one joint. Spine, hips, knees, and hands are the most common places for osteoarthritis to cause symptoms. However, any joint can be affected and a common question I hear when a patient presents with shoulder pain is: Do I have arthritis?
First, a bit of anatomy -- the shoulder is composed of two separate joints:
(1) the acromioclavicular joint where the collarbone meets the shoulder bone (2) the glenohumeral joint where the ball of the humerus articulates with the shoulder blade (scapula). Both joints can be affected by osteoarthritis. It is relatively uncommon for osteoarthritis to develop in the glenohumeral joint without a history of trauma or previous injury. We'll discuss that in a minute. First, let's review the acromioclavicular joint.
Causes of Shoulder Pain Besides Arthritis The glenohumeral joint is the most mobile j...
Very few joints in the body work harder than the shoulder joint. Pushing, pulling, reaching, lifting; the shoulder does it all. And all that work can lead to a painful problem like rotator cuff tendonitis, a rotator cuff tear, shoulder bursitis, or shoulder arthritis. How can you keep that shoulder moving comfortably and get through some shoulder aches and pains? A few tips and tricks can come in handy some day or maybe even today when wicked shoulder pain comes your way.
Trick #1: Icing; when icing your shoulder, especially an inflamed rotator cuff, place the hand of the same limb behind your back. This "back-pocket" position exposes the shoulder tendons which hide underneath the shoulder bone (the acromion) to the ice. The ice pack (like a sack of frozen peas) is positioned slightly forward near the collarbone. Leave the ice on the area for 15 to 20 minutes.
Trick #2: Massage; after icing an inflamed rotator cuff, find the most painful spot and rub it against the grai...
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