Symptoms of Common Shoulder Injuries And Treatment Methods

By Matthew Cenzon. May 7th 2016

Most people will suffer from some type of pain or discomfort in the shoulder region of their bodies. Some may brush symptoms of shoulder pain aside, attributing their discomfort to a pulled or overstretched muscle. However, chronic shoulder issues should not be taken lightly and a proper medical review of any physical ailments should be done immediately to diagnose serious injuries. Here is a list of common shoulder injuries that many people experience.

Dislocated Shoulder

Out of all the major joints throughout the body, the shoulder joint is the most common area of dislocation. A dislocated shoulder typically occurs due to a sudden jerking of the arm, overpowering the muscle fibers, which causes the upper portion of the arm bone to be pulled from its socket. Dislocation can also occur due to a hard fall or blow, which would also cause the upper arm bone to pop out of the shoulder socket.

  • Symptoms of a dislocated shoulder include pain when attempting to move the shoulder and upper arm and a deformed shoulder. Typically, the deformation will allow the type of dislocation to be easily identified, since the dislocated bone will form a bump in either the front or back of the shoulder.
  • Treatment of a dislocated shoulder requires the bone to be moved back into the shoulder socket. Immediate attention is necessary as pain and inflammation will increase the longer the bone remains dislocated. Once the bone is back in the shoulder socket, the injury can be easily treated with NSAIDS, ice packs and an arm sling.

Separated Shoulder

Not to be confused with a dislocated shoulder, a shoulder separation occurs when the ligaments holding the shoulder joints together are torn. This injury occurs around the collarbone and shoulder blade, and torn ligaments can lead to the separation or misalignment of these two bones. A hard blow or awkwardly landing on an outstretched hand are the most common causes of this type of should injury.

  • Symptoms of a separated shoulder include pain, swelling, bruising and tenderness. In some cases, a protrusion, or bump, may form on the shoulder as well.
  • Treatment for a separated shoulder is fairly similar to treatment of a dislocated shoulder. Rest is the best form of treatment for dealing with a separated shoulder. Wearing a sling and applying ice to relieve pain and swelling is also recommended.

Tendinitis and Bursitis of the Shoulder

Experiencing tendinitis or bursitis in the shoulder area is commonly referred to as rotator cuff disease. The rotator cuff can experience swelling, soreness or inflammation around the tendons, which is referred to as tendinitis of the shoulder. Bursitis refers to inflammation of the bursa sacs that protect the shoulder, which typically accompanies tendinitis.

  • Symptoms of tendinitis and bursitis of the shoulder include pain and discomfort in the upper arm and shoulder, which can get worse over time. Raising the arm above the body or head can also cause pain. This condition is typically caused by rheumatoid arthritis, and is common amongst athletes and occupations that require repetitive motions where one must frequently reach over his or her head.
  • Treatment for this condition also follows the rest, ice and NSAID route as the previous shoulder injuries. Rehabilitation through stretching and exercises to strengthen the shoulder muscles should also help.

Fractured Shoulder

A fractured shoulder is typically the result of forced trauma upon the shoulder. A common manner of fracturing the shoulder is when it is used to brace oneself for a fall. In most cases, the collarbone and upper arm bone are the affected areas.

  • Symptoms of a fractured shoulder are severe pain following the blow or fall. The bone itself may appear out of place under the skin, with redness and bruising to follow.
  • Treatment of a fractured shoulder requires limiting the movement of the injured area. Unlike other types of fractures, a hard cast cannot be worn. A sling or strap is typically worn around the chest to keep the collarbone in place. After the bone has healed, rehabilitation can begin to restore strength and movement.

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is a type of shoulder injury where the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the shoulder become so stiff, normal movement is severely limited and extremely painful when any type of motion is possible. Frozen shoulder is typically caused by an injury or condition that leads to lack of use of the shoulder muscles due to extreme pain. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), those suffering from diabetes, stroke, lung disease, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, or have been in an accident are at a higher risk for frozen shoulder.


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