Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is a common ailment that affects 10% of the population at some time in their lives. Shoulder stability requires proper function of the rotator cuff and surrounding muscles which attach the arm to the torso. A properly functioning shoulder allows for excellent movement and proper stability when pushing, pulling or reaching overhead. Injury to the shoulder joint may limit movement and/or cause pain with activities. Since there is the capability for so much movement of the shoulder, problems can occur, leading to rotator cuff tendonitis or tears, shoulder impingement syndrome (pain while reaching overhead), shoulder bursitis, or complete loss of the shoulder’s range of motion (frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis). While many shoulder problems are frustrating and may take several months to heal, many spontaneously get better on their own. As much as 50% of all people with shoulder pain do not seek treatment at all with as many as 23% of the cases getting better in one month and 44% of the case getting better by three months. Trauma to the shoulder or recurring shoulder pain may be an indicator that there is a more serious problem and additional investigation may be required.

Tennis Elbow Facts

Tennis elbow is a common complaint of athletes involved in racket and throwing sports. It involves pain on and around the outside (or lateral) part of the elbow. The formal name for the elbow is the epicondyle. If there is
tendonitis around the lateral elbow, it becomes known as tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis. When there is tendonitis on the inside (or medial) part of the elbow, the condition is known as golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis. Young boys also can develop little league elbow from pitching too much or hard without enough rest or recovery time.

People with tennis elbow frequently complain of pinpoint pain around the lateral elbow. The pain may travel around the elbow, down the forearm to the wrist, or up the arm to the shoulder. The pain is made worse during continued activities like practicing a backhand stroke in tennis, throwing a soft ball, or practicing
handstands in gymnastics. Repetitive tasks, such as painting, hammering, inputting on a computer keyboard, or using a screwdriver also increase pain. As symptoms worsen, people complain of difficulty holding up a cup of coffee,
turning keys in locks, shaking hands, doing needlework, or playing musical instruments.

Typically tennis elbow begins slowly over time due to repetitive movements using incorrect body mechanics. Continuing the activity after the initial injury occurs, overloads the tissues, causes inflammation, and complicates the injury.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Facts

A common medical complaint is pain and tingling at the wrist and hand. The bones of the wrist are called the carpal bones. Across the inside of your wrist is a ligament, which forms a supportive, protective shield for the nerves, tendons, and vessels supplying the hand. This tight space is called the carpal tunnel. If the size of this area is reduced (for instance by inflammation), and the median nerve, which goes from the neck to the index, middle finger and the thumb, is compressed, carpal tunnel syndrome may result.

People with carpal tunnel syndrome frequently complain of pain, numbness, or tingling, from the fingers to the forearm, elbow, and shoulder. They may feel clumsy, and find they are dropping things more often than usual. Sometimes it becomes difficult grasping objects or opening jars. Some people experience pain turning their hand up and down, while others find that the pad between their thumb and wrist has gotten thinner. It is common to feel worse during the night.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve. This may be from direct trauma to the area such as a fracture or sprain, or due to upper extremity repetitive strain from working long hours at a computer, or on an assembly line. It is also believed that obesity, arthritis, diabetes, pregnancy, and hypothyroidism, may all contribute to this syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition related to inflammation around, and compression of the median nerve. It is made worse by poor posture.

When should I see a doctor?

Even though carpal tunnel syndrome may be caused by a wide variety of conditions, usually it can be treated without drugs or surgical intervention. If your pain so severe that you have difficulty with your normal activities, you should see a doctor. The health care provider you select will help you with ways to better control your pain and to improve your ability to perform desired activities.