Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain and Common Shoulder Problems

What most people call the shoulder is really several joints that combine with tendons and muscles to allow a wide range of motion in the arm — from scratching your back to throwing the perfect pitch.

Mobility has its price, however. It may lead to increasing problems with instability or impingement of the soft tissue or bony structures in your shoulder, resulting in pain. You may feel pain only when you move your shoulder, or all of the time. The pain may be temporary or it may continue and require medical diagnosis and treatment.

This article explains some of the common causes of shoulder pain, as well as some general treatment options. Your doctor can give you more detailed information about your shoulder pain.


This simplified illustration of the shoulder highlights the major components of the joint.
Your shoulder is made up of three bones: your upper arm bone (humerus), your shoulder blade (scapula), and your collarbone (clavicle).

The head of your upper arm bone fits into a rounded socket in your shoulder blade. This socket is called the glenoid. A combination of muscles and tendons keeps your arm bone centered in your shoulder socket. These tissues are called the rotator cuff. They cover the head of your upper arm bone and attach it to your shoulder blade.


Most shoulder problems fall into four major categories:

Tendon inflammation (bursitis or tendinitis) or tendon tear
Fracture (broken bone)
Other much less common causes of shoulder pain are tumors, infection, and nerve-related problems.


Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that are located in joints throughout the body, including the shoulder. They act as cushions between bones and the overlying soft tissues, and help reduce friction between the gliding muscles and the bone.

Sometimes, excessive use of the shoulder leads to inflammation and swelling of the bursa between the rotator cuff and part of the shoulder blade known as the acromion. The result is a condition known as subacromial bursitis. Bursitis often occurs in association with rotator cuff tendinitis. The many tissues in the shoulder can become inflamed and painful. Many daily activities, such as combing your hair or getting dressed, may become difficult.


A tendon is a cord that connects muscle to bone. Most tendinitis is a result of a wearing down of the tendon that occurs slowly over time, much like the wearing process on the sole of a shoe that eventually splits from overuse.

Generally, tendinitis is one of two types:

Acute. Excessive ball throwing or other overhead activities during work or sport can lead to acute tendinitis.
Chronic. Degenerative diseases like arthritis or repetitive wear and tear due to age, can lead to chronic tendinitis.
The most commonly affected tendons in the shoulder are the four rotator cuff tendons and one of the biceps tendons. The rotator cuff is made up of four small muscles and their tendons that cover the head of your upper arm bone and keep it in the shoulder socket. Your rotator cuff helps provide shoulder motion and stability.

Tendon Tears

Splitting and tearing of tendons may result from acute injury or degenerative changes in the tendons due to advancing age, long-term overuse and wear and tear, or a sudden injury. These tears may be partial or may completely split the tendon into two pieces. In most cases of complete tears, the tendon is pulled away from its attachment to the bone. Rotator cuff and biceps tendon injuries are among the most common of these injuries.


Shoulder impingement occurs when the top of the shoulder blade (acromion) puts pressure on the underlying soft tissues when the arm is lifted away from the body. As the arm is lifted, the acromion rubs, or “impinges” on, the rotator cuff tendons and bursa. This can lead to bursitis and tendinitis, causing pain and limiting movement. Over time, severe impingement can even lead to a rotator cuff tear.


Shoulder instability occurs when the head of the upper arm bone is forced out of the shoulder socket. This can happen as a result of a sudden injury or from overuse.

Shoulder dislocations can be partial, with the ball of the upper arm coming just partially out of the socket. This is called a subluxation. A complete dislocation means the ball comes all the way out of the socket.

Once the ligaments, tendons, and muscles around the shoulder become loose or torn, dislocations can occur repeatedly. Recurring dislocations, which may be partial or complete, cause pain and unsteadiness when you raise your arm or move it away from your body. Repeated episodes of subluxations or dislocations lead to an increased risk of developing arthritis in the joint.


Shoulder pain can also result from arthritis. There are many types of arthritis. The most common type of arthritis in the shoulder is osteoarthritis, also known as “wear and tear” arthritis. Symptoms, such as swelling, pain, and stiffness, typically begin during middle age. Osteoarthritis develops slowly and the pain it causes worsens over time.

Osteoarthritis, may be related to sports or work injuries and chronic wear and tear. Other types of arthritis can be related to rotator cuff tears, infection, or an inflammation of the joint lining.

Often people will avoid shoulder movements in an attempt to lessen arthritis pain. This sometimes leads to a tightening or stiffening of the soft tissue parts of the joint, resulting in a painful restriction of motion.


Fractures are broken bones. Shoulder fractures commonly involve the clavicle (collarbone), humerus (upper arm bone), and scapula (shoulder blade).

Shoulder fractures in older patients are often the result of a fall from standing height. In younger patients, shoulder fractures are often caused by a high energy injury, such as a motor vehicle accident or contact sports injury.

Fractures often cause severe pain, swelling, and bruising about the shoulder.

Spinal Stenosis

In the medical field, stenosis means the abnormal narrowing of a body channel. When combined with the word spinal, it defines a narrowing of the bone channel occupied by the spinal nerves or the spinal cord.

Some people are born with a congenital form, but most develop spinal stenosis as part of the degenerative cascade. A few do not feel any effects of the narrowing, but as part of the aging process, most people will eventually notice radiating pain, weakness, and/or numbness secondary to the compression of the nerves or spinal cord.

While the narrowing may occur at different parts of the spine, the symptoms of nerve compression are often similar. That is why specialists often will perform testing to determine the cause and location of the narrowing.

For most people, the stenosis results from changes because of arthritis. The spinal canal may narrow. The open spaces between the vertebrae may start to get smaller. The tightness can pinch the spinal cord or the nerves around it, causing pain, tingling, or numbness in your legs, arms, or torso.

There’s no cure, but there are a variety of nonsurgical treatments and exercises to keep the pain at bay. Most people with spinal stenosis live normal lives.


The leading reason for spinal stenosis is arthritis, a condition caused by the breakdown of cartilage — the cushiony material between your bones — and the growth of bone tissue.

Osteoarthritis can lead to disc changes, a thickening of the ligaments of the spine, and bone spurs. This can put pressure on your spinal cord and spinal nerves.

Other causes include:

Herniated discs. If the cushions are cracked, material can seep out and press on your spinal cord or nerves.
Injuries. An accident may fracture or inflame part of your spine.
Tumors. If cancerous growths touch the spinal cord, you may get stenosis.
Paget’s disease. With this condition, your bones grow abnormally large and brittle. The result is a narrowing of the spinal canal and nerve problems.
Some people are born with spinal stenosis or diseases that lead to it. For them, the condition usually starts to cause problems between the ages of 30 and 50.


Spinal stenosis usually affects your neck or lower back. Not everyone has symptoms, but if you do, they tend to be the same: stiffness, numbness, and back pain.

Knee Pain

Knee pain is a very common reason for a visit to a primary care doctor, and that is not surprising: the knee is the largest joint in the body and supports almost the entire weight of the body, both when upright and when bending. If just one element of the complicated knee joint is damaged, the knee can become painful.

Knee pain and discomfort can be experienced many different ways: a dull ache, a sharp, stabbing pain, possibly accompanied by stiffness, warmth and swelling of the knee. Some people also experience weakness or locking of the knee joint, which can be a strange and discomfiting sensation and inhibit one’s ability to function.

Because the knee is such a complex and essential joint, it is important to pay attention to any type of knee pain and obtain an accurate diagnosis for the cause of the pain. Many people mistakenly consider knee pain just a normal part of aging, but a healthcare professional can often identify the cause and prevent progression of the symptoms.

Knee Joint Pain from Arthritis
Knee Osteoarthritis
Knee Osteoarthritis Video
Arthritic knee pain can present itself in many different ways. The specific symptoms will depend on a number of factors, including the degree and nature of joint degeneration, the patient’s condition (such as weight and physical fitness) and the patient’s individual perception of pain.

That being said, there are certain signs and symptoms of arthritic knee pain that are typical among most patients. For most, the knee pain associated with osteoarthritis is usually characterized by some combination of the following symptoms:

Knee pain that comes and goes

In most but not all cases, the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis come and go, becoming gradually worse and more frequent over a number of years. There may be a persistent, dull ache, accompanied by flare-ups of more intense pain after certain activities that strain the knee joint (such as walking up stairs).

With severe osteoarthritis of the knee, the pain can become continuous, interrupting sleep and making any form of weight-bearing activity severely painful.

Two distinct types of arthritic knee pain

In a recent study that explored the nature of pain through extensive interviews with 20 patients, 80% profiled two distinct types of knee pain: mechanical pain and inflammatory pain1:

Mechanical pain. This type of pain was described in many different ways, such as sharp or aching. It resulted from weight-bearing activities and knee joint movements, such as climbing stairs or squatting down. This type of pain intensified with increased knee joint strain and went away after a brief period of rest. It was also worse after a prolonged period of inactivity, such as getting up after sitting for a long time, and would go away after a few minutes of gentle movement of the joint.
Inflammatory pain. This type of arthritic pain was often described in the interviews as burning, and often accompanied by swelling and a sensation of warmth. It was less predictable, sometimes occurring as flare-ups of intense pain in addition to the dull, aching form of mechanical pain, brought on by changes in the weather or by activity.
Certain things make the knee pain worse

Prolonged inactivity. The pain and stiffness is usually worse when getting out of bed in the morning or after sitting for a long period in the car.
Bending. Using the joint while bearing weight, such as bending

Certain things make the knee pain better

Rest. After a painful flare, the pain usually subsides after resting for a relatively short period.
Ice and/or heat. Applying ice or a cold compress after activity-related pain usually provides a quick reduction in pain as it reduces inflammation. Applying a warm compress or heating pad, or sitting in a hot whirlpool bath, usually provides a soothing form of pain relief.

Gentle/moderate activity. When the knee joint is used, it secretes synovial fluid between the cartilage in the joint. This fluid is viscous, with a consistency described as similar to an egg yolk. Its primary role is to reduce friction in the joint, which in turn helps with flexibility and reducing pain.
Weight loss. Losing weight, as appropriate, helps reduce strain on the knee, thereby reducing pain and slowing the joint degeneration.

Neck Pain

Neck pain is a leading cause of pain in the aging population, as well as subsequent to auto accident-whiplash type injury, in which the neck is violently snapped back, then forward, after the victim is usually hit from behind, by another vehicle..

The neck—or cervical spine—is a coordinated network of nerves, bones, joints, and muscles directed by the brain and the spinal cord. It is designed for strength, stability, and nerve communication.

Commonly, there are a number of problems that cause pain in the neck. Additionally, irritation along the nerve pathways can cause pain into the shoulder, head, arm, and hand. Irritation of the spinal cord can cause pain into the legs and other areas below the neck

Most instances of neck pain will go away within a few days or weeks, but pain that persists for months could signal an underlying medical cause that needs to be addressed—in some instances early intervention may be necessary for the best results.

Neck Pain Range of Symptoms

Neck pain can feel like any of the following:

Stiff neck that makes turning the head difficult
Sharp or stabbing pain in one spot
Soreness or tenderness in a general area
Pain that radiates down into the shoulders, arms, or fingers; or radiates up into the head
In some cases, other symptoms associated with the neck pain are even more problematic, such as:

Tingling, numbness, or weakness that radiates into the shoulder, arms, or fingers
Trouble with gripping or lifting objects
Problems with walking, balance, or coordination
Loss of bladder or bowel control
See When Is a Stiff Neck Serious?

Neck pain might be minor and easily ignored, or it can be excruciating to the point where it interferes with important daily activities, such as sleep. The pain might be short-lived, come and go, or become constant. While not common, neck pain can also be a signal of a serious underlying medical issue, such as meningitis, or cancer.

The Maynooth 5km road run

The Maynooth 5km road run has been redesigned to provide a fast flat road race. The course is ideal for PB,s , Chipped, AAI permit granted.

There is amble parking and showering facilities at the club.

Please arrive in good time to collect your race numbers and a 1km warm up to the start line.

Pricing; 15 euro on line entry. 20 euro for late entry on the day
Registration Closing Date : Saturday 13th September 2014

NEW 5km Road Race will be run on a flat course between Kilcock and Maynooth. Parking/Registration/Finish will be at North Kildare Sports Club, The Maws.

Perfect as a pre-cross country season run, a short fast run in the lead up to the Dublin City Marathon, a PB opportunity for any road race specialists, Couch to 5km Runners or Fit4Life Runners!! – at North Kildare Hockey Club.

Small amount of exercise benefits over-60s

People over the age of 60 who undertake even a very small amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week, reduce their risk of death, a new study has found.

According to the findings, greater longevity is possible even if older people do not reach the recommended amount of exercise.

Adults are recommended to undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week, e.g. 30 minutes, five days a week. However, some older people may struggle to achieve this.

French researchers set out to determine whether undertaking less than the recommended amount of exercise produced any benefits for older people.

They analysed nine studies on this topic, involving over 122,000 people, who were monitored for an average of 10 years. Over 18,000 of them died during this period.

The researchers found that those who undertook some moderate or vigorous activity, even if it did not reach the recommended amount, had a 22% reduced risk of death compared with those who were inactive.

Not surprisingly, the more exercise a person did, the bigger the health benefit. For those who did achieve the weekly recommended amount of exercise, their risk of death was 28% lower, while those who exceeded it had a 35% lower risk.

The researchers noted that the biggest benefits appeared to apply to those who went from doing nothing or very little exercise, to more exercise.

The reduced risk of death appeared to be largely related to less heart disease and stroke, and the benefits were greater in older women compared to older men.

The study determined that for those over the age of 60, even 75 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every week – that is just 15 minutes, five days a week – appeared to be beneficial to health. They suggested that this could be ‘a reasonable target dose’.

“Based on these results, we believe that the target for physical activity in the current recommendations might be too high for older adults and may discourage some of them. The fact that any effort will be worthwhile may help convince those 60% of participants over 60 years of age, who do not practice any regular physical activity, to become active,” the researchers said.

Details of these findings are published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Spicy food may help you live longer

Eating spicy food regularly may help you live longer, a new study suggests.

According to the findings, people who frequently consume spicy foods have a lower risk of death, including death from cancer.

International researchers looked at over 487,000 men and women aged between 30 and 79 years. All completed detailed questionnaires about their general health and diet and they were followed up for an average of over seven years, during which time, more than 20,000 died.

The study found that people who consumed spicy foods once or twice a week had a 10% reduced risk of death compared to those who ate such foods less than once a week.

Those who ate spicy foods between three and sevens days a week had a 14% reduced risk of death.

This link was similar among both men and women, although it was stronger among those who did not drink alcohol.

The researchers found that the frequent consumption of spicy foods was specifically linked to a lower risk of death from cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases. This link was more noticeable in women.

Among those who said they regularly ate spicy foods, the most commonly used spices were fresh and dried chilli peppers. A further analysis by the researchers suggested that the regular consumption of fresh chilli was linked to a lower risk of death from cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

The researchers acknowledged that this was an observational study, so no definitive conclusions can be drawn, but they believe more research in this area may ‘lead to updated dietary recommendations’.

They suggested that some of the bioactive ingredients of spices may be responsible for these results, such as capsaicin, which is thought to have anti-obesity and anti-inflammation properties.

Details of these findings are published in the British Medical Journal.

Team Ireland returns with 86 medals

Team Ireland returns from the Special Olympics today, bringing with them 86 medals, including 26 gold.

The team of 88 athletes competed in the major sporting event in LA from July 25 until August 2. They won a total of 26 gold, 29 silver and 31 bronze medals.

On the final day alone, they won six gold, five silver and five bronze. Medals were won across a wide range of sports including basketball, athletics, badminton and football.

The team also achieved 31 personal bests and 43 placement ribbons.

Commenting on their achievements, the Minister for Primary Care, Social Care and Disability, Kathleen Lynch, said that Team Ireland ‘did their country proud’.

“All team members and their coaches can feel incredibly proud of their achievements. I also want to congratulate all the volunteers – over 200 of them – who were with Team Ireland all the way. Together, they displayed truly Olympian qualities,” she said.