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Pain in the shoulder, armpit, aggravates when heavy weights is lifted. Is it a rotator cuff problem ?

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I am 58. I have had slight pain over the years, which has developed in my shoulder, both front and back, over a number of years. I think it probably is a rotator cuff problem, as I aggravate it by carrying an object or pick up my grandson who is over 20 lbs. The pain is very slight, but nearly always present. And, in the past couple of weeks, I have noticed that I also have a slight pain in my armpit, with perhaps a slight swelling. I can't feel any lumps, but the pain is all on the same side.
Posted Tue, 8 May 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
 
 
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 25 minutes later
Hello,

Thanks for posting your query.

From the symptoms that you have described, it seems to be Rotator cuff tendonitis or shoulder impingement syndrome which causes irritation and inflammation of the rotator cuff and the bursa when doing overhead activity and hence pain.

Usually, there is enough room between the Acromion and the rotator cuff so that the tendons slide easily underneath the acromion as the arm is raised. But each time the arm is raised, there is a bit of rubbing or pinching on the tendons and the bursa. With overuse, this can cause irritation and swelling of the bursa.

There are a group of muscles and tendons which form a covering around the head of your upper arm bone and attach it to your shoulder blade. This group is collectively called the rotator cuff muscles and from your symptoms the possibility of rotator cuff tendonitis is more likely.

This is commonly found in people who do activities like swimming, tennis, baseball, badminton, paper hanging, construction, or painting.

It causes local swelling and tenderness in the front of the shoulder and initially it presents as minor pain but gradually it causes severe pain and loss of motion.

You need to get an MRI scan done which is a more sensitive test for soft tissue and muscular injuries. An Orthopedician is the best person to be consulted.

Here are some general treatment measures which you can follow:

1) Provide complete rest and avoid overhead activities.
2) Apply cold compresses and take some anti inflammatory pain killer after consulting your doctor.

If the symptoms are severe then after confirming the diagnosis by MRI, you may need steroid injections or surgical arthroscopic technique (kept as last resort).

Hope this answers your query.

If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Pain in the shoulder, armpit, aggravates when heavy weights is lifted. Is it a rotator cuff problem ? 48 minutes later
can Rotator cuff tendonitis also cause slight pain in the armpit and slight swelling there also?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 13 hours later
Hello,

Thanks for writing back.

Rotator cuff tendinitis can cause surrounding swelling and inflammation and hence it can cause swelling and pain in armpit. But if there is any redness or warmth of the area then other possibilities like a boil, abscess or an infection of the area of the armpit needs to be ruled out.

Hope this answers your query.

If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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