Shoulder pain causes discomfort and limitations to those who experience it. Some pain will lead to surgical solutions while others can be treated with physical therapy. The most common cause of shoulder pain for those that experience it is tendinitis. Tendinitis is inflammation found in the rotator cuff or the bicep tendon that is the result of a tendon being pinched by the surrounding structures. Athletes that heavily rely on their arms and shoulder movement are more prone to shoulder tendinitis in sports such as baseball, weightlifting, tennis, and swimming.
How do you recognize if you have tendinitis in your shoulder or perhaps something worse? First ask if you are doing any action that is repetitive on your shoulder. Next, ask yourself what type of pain you are experiencing, where, and does it limit your motion? In many cases tenderness with minimal sharp pain will be tendinitis but always consult a shoulder specialist or orthopaedic doctor to be sure.
Once you have received a diagnosis of tendinitis the next steps typically involve physical therapy. A physical therapist will provide massage, electric muscle stimulation, exercises, as well as other specialized approaches to help your specific case. Things that you can do while your therapist helps you heal is pull back from the activity that causes you pain. You’ll want to eliminate the pain before slowly ramping back up your activity level. Also, be consistent about icing regularly and stretching. The goal is to eliminate the pain and build your activity back up such that when you return to full strength you are pain free. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your shoulder pain specialist through this whole process. They are there to help you recover to your fullest.