In most cases shoulder pain is not something to worry about. It is usually a short-term experience and only effects a small area of the shoulder. It can be caused by many things from inflammation to injury to tension in the neck muscles due to poor posture. If there is genuine damage to the bones this could again be caused by injury or a condition such as arthritis.
Shoulder pain can also be what’s known as referred pain. This is when the problem isn’t actually in the shoulder joint at all but resonates there. This is common with neck pain, pain in the shoulder blade and even the upper/outer arm.
Shoulder Pain and Arthritis
Shoulder pain can be a symptom of an arthritic condition, most commonly rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, but also the condition polymyalgia rheumatica (PMA). Rheumatoid arthritis is known to affect the shoulders and shoulder joints, but it is less common in osteoarthritis.
Knowing whether to visit a doctor can be tricky. Unless the pain is unmanageable, or you have an injury that needs attending to, visiting may not be necessary. However, any pain that lasts more than two weeks should be looked into. You can discuss your symptoms with your GP who may refer you to a specialist or be able to treat you themselves dependent on your particular condition.
Symptoms of Polymyalgia Rheumatica
If you experience the following symptoms visit a doctor as soon as possible:
- Severe pain in both shoulders
- Fever/General illness
- Additional pain in the hips and/or thighs
These are common symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica and this is a condition which needs to be treated quickly. It is not common, and most people will find their shoulder pain can be managed with regular painkillers. Dependent on the condition and severity of your pain you may need to see a specialist rheumatologist for the right treatment.
Making an appointment
If you would like to find out more or to make an appointment with Dr Stephanie Barrett please call 020 7730 8508 or make an appointment here.