Why Won't My Shoulder Pain Go Away?
If you're anything like the average Joe, you work hard during the week usually
performing rigorous or repetitive tasks such as hammering or heavy lifting,
typing or repetitive mouse clicking. Then you come home and relax by sinking
into the couch and doing nothing for ten minutes to several hours.
Follow that up with spending the weekend performing more rigorous, repetitive
tasks such as gardening, laundry or a larger ongoing project like painting the
bedroom walls. Or perhaps you use the weekends to play and go skiing or rock
climbing. Then you notice that your shoulder hurts when putting on your shirt or
closing a door. You're not alone. What you are probably experiencing is
tendonitis in one or more of the shoulder muscles, which is quite common... but
there is help!
The problem Your shoulders are incredibly flexible joints that allow your arms
to move through a large range of motion. They are used in almost every activity
and they take a lot of punishment on a daily basis. As a result, they are prone
to a wide range of injuries that can cause pain and limit your range of motion.
Normally the body is able to heal itself quite well during sleep.
Unfortunately the average American is so busy with work, chores, bills, errands
etc. that when it's time to sleep we just stare at the ceiling and think about
tomorrow which only keeps us awake and creates more stress and less healing.
Many times these injuries are simply caused by wear and tear. For example, a
common injury is tendonitis of one of the rotator cuff muscles called the Infraspinatus.
This is a small triangular muscle located on the back of the shoulder blade. It
covers the lower portion of the scapula and its tendon attaches to the back side
of the humerus (large bone of upper arm). Like the other muscles of the rotator
cuff, the Infraspinatus is weaker than the surrounding muscles due to its poor
mechanical advantage which makes it more susceptible to injury.
Through poor posture and/or repetitive overuse such as, reaching behind you into
the back seat of your car and lifting a heavy object, swinging a tennis racquet
or hastily pulling off your jacket, the tendon develops micro tears and becomes
inflamed and painful. The resulting pain can lead to overcompensation from other
muscles in the body which leads to chronically tightened muscles and trigger points.
Trigger points are small knots in the muscle tissue that are very common around
the shoulder and can refer pain and tenderness into the muscles or joints. The
referred pain can mimic other shoulder problems and can feel as if the injury is
actually in a completely different area or muscle.
The reason it takes so long to heal without being treated tendonitis can take
several months or even years to heal and even then you may not get back your
full range of motion. This is due to, as mentioned before, overcompensation of
other muscles in an effort to prevent further injury and pain, which can cause
chronic tightening of these muscles and can eventually lead to more severe
conditions such as adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder.