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Shoulder pain, tendonitis, bursitis, sleeplessness, mobility restriction

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
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I have been suffering from recurrent bouts of shoulder pain in my right shoulder for the last eight years - the most recent being what I think is tendonitis.

There have been several flare ups around my right shoulder and arm, and each time the pain signature has been very different. It first started out as bursitis which never really recovered, then doing some painting work I really damaged - tore ? - something in my shoulder, and this last time I had a warm then burning white hot pain in the front of my shoulder. It seemed to come on without obvious overuse or injury. I could barely move my arm in any direction and the pain developed into what felt like a red hot string. Sleeping was impossible and normal mobility became severely restricted because of pain in movement of any kind.
Posted Mon, 23 Apr 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
 
 
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 1 hour later
Hello,
Thanks for your query. Three points are important to be taken into consideration when thinking of the possibilities in your case. These are your age, the pain in the shoulder prior to this and the work / activity which suddenly aggravated the condition.

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 found in young or middle aged people and while doing activities like swimming, tennis, baseball, paper hanging, construction, or painting (which is there in your case). The other possibility is of shoulder bursitis which can cause similar symptoms.

It causes local swelling and tenderness in the front of the shoulder and initially it presents as minor pain from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm 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 .
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: Shoulder pain, tendonitis, bursitis, sleeplessness, mobility restriction 1 hour later
Thank you Dr XXXXXXX

will the MRI be able to pinpoint whether it is a rotator cuff tendonitis or a shoulder bursitis ? certainly this current injury/pain feels in a different location to the original shoulder bursitis pain ! what is the likelihood of further injury in this area

XXXXXXX
 
 
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 1 hour later
Hi,

Thanks for your query. A good physical examination, an MRI scan and an ultrasound scan can help in identifying the cause and differentiating between the two. If a small pin point tear is suspected, an MRI combined with an injection of contrast material, called an MR-arthrogram may also help to confirm the diagnosis.

If not treated then it can cause further injury and aggravation of bursitis or a tear in the rotator cuff.

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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