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Senior Scene® | January Issue
Some Shoulder Speci cs
As we clean up after hurricanes &
start pulling down boxes of holiday decorations, reports of shoulder pain become more frequent. An astounding 67% of the population will experience shoulder pain in their lifetime. Shoulder pain is responsible for over 14 million doctor visits every year & 40-50% of the injuries persist for longer than one year. Three common injuries are rotator cuff impingement/tears, biceps tendinitis, & frozen shoulder.
The shoulder is very complex. It
is the most mobile joint in the body
& has over 30 muscles involved in
its function. There are three bones: shoulder blade (scapula), collarbone (clavicle) & arm bone (humerus). The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint, but the ball is much larger than the socket, which leads to inherent instability. There is a capsule (labrum) surrounding the joint to prevent the shoulder from
Laura Straut, DPT
dislocating while still allowing full range of motion. The rotator cuff also helps to keep the joint stable. The rotator cuff consists of four small muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, & subscapularis.
Repetitive arm motions (especially overhead) & heavy lifting can cause irritation or tearing of rotator cuff tendons. The most commonly torn rotator cuff muscle is the supraspinatus. The supraspinatus is often torn over time because of a bone spur encroaching on the tendon (“impingement”).
Usually rotator cuff tears cause pain
at night, especially when lying on the affected shoulder. There is also typically pain with lifting your arm, washing your hair, clasping your bra or pulling out your wallet. The pain often starts as mild & progresses over time as the tear worsens.
Once diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear you will decide with your doctor whether or not you will have surgery. Early treatment—whether undergoing surgery or utilizing conservative measures—will improve your outcomes & hasten your recovery. If you do
undergo surgery, you will likely be in a sling for several weeks, but often will begin physical therapy as quickly as the day after surgery.
Another common source of shoulder pain is biceps tendinitis. The pain is usually sharp & located at the front of the shoulder. After a lot of activity, there is usually a dull ache that lingers. One of the major causes leading to biceps tendinitis is poor posture combined with overhead motions. Poor posture causes improper friction on the tendon, which leads to in ammation & pain. Biceps tendinitis is usually treated conservatively, but if left untreated will worsen.
One common phrase that is tossed around colloquially is that someone
is worried about his or her shoulder “freezing.” Often referred to as “frozen shoulder,” adhesive capsulitis occurs in about 3% of the general population (but in up to 30% of diabetics). It is a painful loss of motion in the shoulder that most commonly affects women over the age of 45. The cause of adhesive capsulitis
SHOULDER continued on pg 53
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January 2018 | Senior Scene® Magazine | 43

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