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...
Try washing your hair, brushing your teeth or getting dressed without the use of one shoulder, it's darn near impossible to do anything without your shoulders. We use our shoulders all day long, 365 days per year. And over the years, the shoulders may not be feeling as comfortable or limber as they once did back in your younger days. Or maybe you are in your younger years but have been hard on your shoulders. Whether you are young or old, stiff painful shoulders make life's daily activities much more difficult to get done.
The most common reason to have a painful shoulder is tendonitis. The shoulder is a complex joint with a network of tendons called the rotator cuff . As all of the muscles in the shoulder work to pull, push, lift and reach, the tendons - which attach the shoulder muscles to the bones - can get very inflamed and painful. Sometimes the rotator cuff actually gets pinched between two bones, the acromion and the humerus. This condition is called shoulder impin...
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...
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