The Most Common Causes of Shoulder Pain and Why Conventional Treatments Often Fail

by | Regenerative Medicine

The Most Common Causes of Shoulder Pain and Why Conventional Treatments Often Fail

Oct 26, 2022

Shoulder pain is a frequent complaint at the doctor’s office, especially among older individuals. It’s actually a major contributor to lost work time and disability, which means finding relief is vital for people who suffer long-term. Read on to learn more about the most common causes of shoulder pain. You may try many of the conventional methods to heal your shoulder pain, but there’s a new safer and more effective one you may not have heard about, which you should definitely consider if your discomfort doesn’t resolve over time.

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

Poor posture

The advent of personal communication devices has been terrible for our joints, particularly those of the neck and shoulders. If you sit hunched over a phone or tablet for hours on end, as many people do, you’re almost guaranteed to bring on shoulder pain and neck pain.

General poor posture when standing or working on your feet can also have an effect on your shoulder joints. Additionally, ignoring ergonomics at work or at your study desk, particularly if you sit in front of a computer all day, can cause or exacerbate shoulder pain.

Wrong sleeping surface or position

Caring about your posture shouldn’t end when you hit a horizontal position every night in bed. You want a sleep surface that supports proper alignment of your spine but has some give to accommodate large joints like your shoulders.

The position you sleep in is important too. Your pillows should keep your head in a neutral position – not too high or too low – so your neck isn’t kinked, which can in turn lead to shoulder problems. Sleeping on your stomach with your head pushed backwards can result in shoulder pain, as can sleeping on your back with your chin on your chest.

Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is just one type of arthritis (joint inflammation), but it’s the most common type and tends to increase in frequency with age. Joints break down and lose their elasticity and cushioning effect, which can cause pain and swelling. Bone deformities like spurs can develop as well, which impede joint motion even more.

Arthritis can be made worse by other factors. Carrying extra weight is hard on your joints, for example. Other health conditions can provoke arthritis pain, and wear and tear from sports or manual labor are often drivers of joint degeneration.

Repetitive motion and overuse

Any kind of repetitive motion that puts stress on a joint can precipitate pain. People who work in factories or do the same tasks day after day, such as construction or landscaping, are prone to shoulder injuries, including:

  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis
  • Strains
  • Sprains

You can get shoulder pain from overdoing an activity occasionally, like cleaning out the garage or playing too much golf on vacation. However, this type of overuse pain tends to go away once you rest and stop pushing so hard.

Sports injury

Shoulder injuries from athletics are quite common, especially among men, who engage in more contact sports. Football, hockey, rugby, basketball, and soccer involve a lot of tackling and slamming into opponents, which causes acute trauma like broken bones, torn ligaments (dislocations), and rotator cuff injuries (trauma to the group of muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint). These injuries can come back to haunt you years later, so if you had a bad shoulder injury in college, it could still bother you in your 40s. 

Both men and women can develop both acute and chronic shoulder pain from sports, particularly if you enjoy:

Even swimming, which is often used as therapy in shoulder injuries, can cause shoulder pain from overtraining or poor mechanics.

Non-sports trauma

Other types of trauma outside of the playing field can also lead to shoulder pain. Car accidents are a very common mechanism of injury. Also, bike accidents, trips and falls, and domestic trauma send people to the ER with shoulder problems.

Frozen shoulder

Adhesive capsulitis is the medical term for a frozen shoulder. Usually, this condition develops when someone has limited shoulder movement for a long time, such as after surgery or a broken arm that immobilizes the limb. The shoulder joint becomes both stiff and painful, and symptoms typically get worse at night.

Conventional Treatments for Shoulder Pain and Their Downsides

Masking symptoms, plus risks

If you consult a physician about your shoulder pain, they may recommend rest, ice, heat, or physical therapy. These are all fine short-term solutions, but if they don’t work, you may be encouraged to pursue more aggressive “conventional” treatments, each of which has potential negative consequences:

  • Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or naproxen, which can raise your blood pressure, cause digestive problems, and predispose you to cardiovascular events
  • Prescription medications, which have even worse side effects and the possibility of addiction (with opioids)
  • Steroid injections, which can’t be given long-term and can cause unpleasant side effects, as well as a buildup of cortisone in the joint
  • Surgery, which always has risks, including anesthesia reactions, blood clots, embolisms, and nerve damage

Only surgery has the potential for permanent pain relief – the other treatments only cover up pain – but it’s so potentially dangerous that it should be an absolute last resort.

An Alternative Treatment Option for Stubborn Shoulder Pain

Regenerative medicine

Fortunately, there is another type of treatment that is long-lasting and safe: regenerative medicine. At RegenerWave Clinic, we can inject your shoulder with exosomes, which are related to stem cells, to stop pain and improve mobility.

How does regenerative medicine with exosomes work? Exosomes prompt your body to kick-start its natural healing process, one we tend to lose as we age or find our immunity lowered. The cells needed to heal a shoulder injury speed to the site, easing inflammation, reducing pain, and growing new tissue where it has been lost. After a few injections, the cells generated start to renew themselves, making for results that last for months or years at a stretch.

Regenerative medicine is much safer than pharmaceuticals or surgery. It’s so new that it may not be covered by your insurance yet, but it can be less expensive than years of co-payments, out-of-pocket costs, and time off work. We use it at RegenerWave Clinic as part of a holistic approach to healthcare that includes gut health, nutrition, and managing hormones.

Is regenerative medicine right for your shoulder pain? You can find out with just one appointment, where we perform an exam and take any images necessary. If you have shoulder pain that hasn’t gotten better quickly, you don’t have to suffer with it. Call RegenerWave Clinic today at 954-510-3150, or get in touch online to learn more.

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Dr Rodriguez

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