Shoulder tendonitis and bursitis are common causes of shoulder pain and stiffness. They indicate swelling (inflammation) of a particular area within the shoulder joint. Two types of tendinitis can affect the shoulder, biceps tendinitis and rotor cuff tendinitis.
Biceps tendinitis causes pain in the front or side of the shoulder and may travel down to the elbow and forearm. Pain can also occur when raising the arm overhead. The biceps muscle, in the front of the upper arm, helps stabilize the upper arm bone (humerus) in the shoulder socket. It also helps accelerate and decelerate the arm during overhead movement in an activity such as tennis, golf, swimming and work related activities.
Rotator cuff tendinitis causes shoulder pain at the tip of the shoulder and the upper, outer arm. It can be caused by repeated motion of the arms, or simply the aging process since as tendons age, they tolerate less stress, are less elastic, and tear more easily.
The rotator cuff is primarily a group of four muscles that attach the arm to the shoulder joint and allow the arm to rotate and elevate. If the rotator cuff and bursa are irritated, inflamed, and swollen, they may become compressed between the head of the humerus and the acromion, the outer edge of the shoulder blade. The pain can be aggravated by reaching, pushing, pulling, lifting, raising the arm above shoulder level, or lying on the affected side.
Improper technique in any sport is one of the primary causes of shoulder tendonitis, but you don’t have to be a professional athlete to develop this condition. It is more common in adults, especially those over 40-years of age and those working in jobs that involve overhead assembly work, butchering and heavy lifting – it can also be caused by a direct blow to the shoulder area or falling on an outstretched arm
Treatment goals include reduction in pain and inflammation, as well as preserving mobility and preventing disability and recurrence. Treatment includes:
Because most cases of tendonitis are caused by overuse, the best treatment is prevention. It is important to avoid or modify the activities that cause the problem. Underlying conditions such as improper posture or poor technique in sports or work must be corrected.
Patients who have suffered from shoulder tendinitis for some time and also those that have only recently shown the symptoms, can often make a faster recovery and return to their sport, exercise regime or daily work by undergoing shock wave therapy. In independent research published by The American Journal of Sports Medicine – shock wave therapy appeared to be more effective and safer than traditional conservative treatments in the management of patients with shoulder tendinitis.
To find out more about shoulder tendinitis and bursitis and shock wave therapy, or to book a free consultation, contact us now.