Shoulder Tendonitis Symptoms & Treatments
Dealing with Shoulder Pain & Tendonitis Injuries
Shoulder tendonitis (tendinitis) usually causes pain and tenderness in the side and front of the shoulder. If you have shoulder tendonitis you may also have an inability to move your arm or hold it in different positions. Other common symptoms of this injury include pain or a dull ache in your shoulder and/or upper arm, pain when using your arm (either reaching around your body to the front, side, back or overhead), pain that radiates down your arm. The injured area could be red, swollen, or hot the the touch.
Severe tendonitis in your shoulder (possibly from a tendon rupture or ruptured tendon) could result in pain when sleeping at night (especially when laying on the affected shoulder), increased pain first thing in the morning, and general weakness or instability in your shoulder joint.
Anyone can suffer from tendonitis, but it's most common in adults due to degeneration of tissue as we age. Over time the tendons in the foot will wear down resulting in something called degeneration. This is where the fibers in your tendons will become more weak - it's just a natural process that happens as we age.
Repetitive motion (overuse) of the tendons in your shoulder can lead to irritation, bruising or fraying of the tendon fibers. This can cause shoulder pain and weakness in the joint. There are 2 main ways that over use can lead to shoulder tendonitis - through your job or any regular sport / activity that your perform. Those affected by their job may be holding their arm in the same position for an extended period of time (ie. computer workers or hair stylists), or using their arm over their head on a regular basis (ie. painters and carpenters) (reference: 1). Many athletes performing repetitive overhead movements are also more likely to get shoulder tendonitis. This happens most to athletes that play baseball, racket sports (tennis), swim or repeatedly lift weights (reference: 1).
Calcific tendonitis refers to a build-up of calcium in the rotator cuff that leads to a bone spur in the shoulder. This condition is often aggravated by an existing injury, such as Impingement Syndrome or tendonitis in the shoulder. When calcium builds up in the area, pain results from acute inflammation. Fluid movement of the joint is reduced. Calcium is deposited in the rotator cuff, between the humerus and acromion bones inhibiting the normal, friction-free movement of the joint. Impingement or tendonitis, which reduce the mobility of the joint lead to degenerative change and calcium deposits (bone spurs) in the shoulder joint.
Symptoms of a Ruptured Tendon in the Shoulder
If you suffer from a shoulder tendon rupture (ruptured tendon) you might hear a sudden pop or experience severe pain immediately after you're injured. Tendon ruptures usually only happen from accidents or pre-disposed conditions that weaken the tendon - like repeated injections of cortisone, calcium deposits (bone spurs) in and around your shoulder joint or other diseases (ie. gout). Tendon ruptures usually require surgery to re-attach the tendon to the bone or bring both sides of the tear together, and if left untreated can result in permanent disability in your shoulder.
What kind of Shoulder Tendonitis do You Have?
The most common forms of shoulder tendonitis are bicep tendonitis and supraspinatus tendonitis (rotator cuff tendonitis). Both of these types of tendonitis can happen as a result of tendon tissue being pinched by surrounding structures. It's easy to get shoulder tendonitis mixed up with other shoulder injuries, like shoulder bursitis, because other shoulder injuries have many of the same symptoms as shoulder tendonitis.
If you have bicep tendonitis you'll usually feel the most pain in the front of your shoulder. This pain will get worse when you lift your arm overhead. You may also feel pain that shoots down your upper arm, and it's possible that you hear a popping or snapping noise when moving your arm / shoulder (reference: 1).
If you have supraspinatus tendonitis (rotator cuff tendonitis) you'll feel pain in the front of your shoulder that may radiate down the side of your arm. You will also feel pain when lowering your arm from a raised position.
Shoulder Tendonitis = High Risk of Other Injuries
If left untreated, your shoulder tendonitis can turn into a chronic condition, like tendinosis (tiny tears in your shoulder tendon that aren't swollen or inflamed) or tendinopathy. Some people may have shoulder tendonitis as a result of an on-going shoulder impingement syndrome that has carried through for most of their lift. Or they may initially notice their tendonitis but later suffer from the symptoms of impingement syndrome. When you have shoulder tendonitis you usually want to rest your shoulder and avoid activities that make your pain worse. Reducing your mobility completely can result in another condition called frozen shoulder.
Impingement syndrome happens when the tendons or bursa in your shoulder get caught by the bones in your shoulder. Over time if left untreated impingement syndrome can result in shoulder tendonitis, bursitis and can cause tearing in your rotator cuff tendons. Like shoulder tendonitis, impingement syndrome can happen from repeated overhead activity or movement like painting, lifting, swimming and any other overhead sport.
There are generally 3 stages in impingement syndrome: Stage 1 (pain, swelling and inflammation in the rotator cuff tendons), Stage 2 (rotator cuff tendonitis) and Stage 3 (tendon tissue catching under your bone resulting in immobility and loss of function in your shoulder). Each stage will generally affect a different age group, which is why this condition is thought to progress over time. Stage 1 usually affects individuals younger than 25 years old, Stage 2 affects individuals between the ages of 25 and 40, and Stage 3 affects individuals 40+ (reference: 1).
Frozen shoulder (also known as "adhesive capsulitis") is signified by pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint; limited range of motion and pain while sleeping. This is a condition that commonly occurs in older athletes. Frozen shoulder is five times more common in people with diabetes, though the reason for this is unknown. A lining of fibrous tissue, known as a capsule, surrounds the shoulder joint. The capsule is fully stretched when the arm is raised above the head, and it hangs down as a small pouch when the arm is lowered.
Frozen shoulder happens when this lining becomes thickened and swollen. It's possible that frozen shoulder will happen as a result of a previous injury (like shoulder tendonitis), but it can also happen for no apparent reason or may be triggered by a mild injury in the shoulder area. There are 3 phases to this condition: "Freezing" (general pain, swelling and inflammation), "Frozen" (stiffness in your shoulder) and "Thawing" (recovery as pain eases and most of the movement returns). This process will take some time to get through, and can sometimes take as long as 2 or more years to complete.
At this point you're probably asking yourself...
What Should I Do?
If you think that you're suffering from shoulder tendonitis and you're losing mobility in your arm and shoulder the first thing you need to do is see your doctor. Only your doctor can give you a proper diagnosis and from this, determine a course of proper treatment.
If you suspect you have tendonitis in your shoulder,
- Usually conservative treatment methods are all that's needed to treat shoulder tendonitis, surgery is only ever used if long-term conservative treatment methods don't work or if you've suffered from a ruptured tendon in your shoulder. Conservative treatment options for shoulder tendonitis typically includes rest, icing of the injury, strengthening exercises, avoiding activities that cause or worsen the pain that you're feeling and anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medication (reference: 1, 2, 3, 4).
- Second, if your doctor has decided that your injury can be treated with conservative treatment options, then you'll find that many of our customers have had great success treating themselves with our powerful conservative treatment products - the Shoulder Freezie Wrap® and Inferno Wrap®.
- Or, if surgical intervention is required, talk with your doctor about using these same products for post-surgery recovery as you'll find them to be effective for reducing post-surgery inflammation, enhancing range of motion and reducing scar tissue growth.
... and Re-injury of your shoulder must be avoided at all costs!
Constant re-injury (you know when it's happening, you can feel the pain) needs to be avoided at all costs. Obviously, it delays the healing process, but what's worse is that every re-injury and additional healing cycle increases the amount of scar tissue that builds up around your original shoulder tendonitis injury.
Scar tissue is hard, inflexible, and tough to get rid of. The more severe your shoulder tendonitis is, the more likely that this scar tissue will make your tendon much more prone to injury again later on. The more scar tissue that develops, the more you lose the range of motion in your shoulder and arm.
Continuous re-injury and build-up of scar tissue while staying active means you'll have a greater chance of winding up with on-going pain, more tearing in your tendon, tendinosis (thickening of your tendon) or a full rupture.
No one is immune to tendonitis, you can easily reduce your risk of further re-injury with consistent conservative treatments
If you have pain and inflammation in your shoulder, it's very important to heal your injury quickly and completely. You must avoid the build up of scar tissue. If you don't, your shoulder tendonitis injury may plague you forever. This is why it's so important to continuously use conservative treatment tools to heal any recurring tendon damage before it can build into something big. For any shoulder tendonitis sufferer, having the right tools means all the difference.
Mild and moderate cases of tendonitis / strained tendons are best treated with conservative home therapies. Severe injury to the tendon (ruptured tendons) will require surgery to re-attach the tendon to your bone or bring the edges of the tear together. If you suspect that you've ruptured your tendon be sure to speak with your doctor for suggested treatment.
Questions about Shoulder Tendonitis?
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Shoulder Tendonitis Treatment - What You Can Do!
Step 1 - Reduce Pain and Swelling with Cold Compression
The first step for conservative treatment of your shoulder tendonitis is to reduce the swelling to "open up" the area for more blood flow. Anyone in the health-care business knows that your blood supplies the oxygen and much needed nutrients required to heal shoulder tendonitis injuries. This is why for years, doctors, trainers, and other medical professionals have recommended RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) to treat the pain and swelling of fresh injuries, chronic pain, and after any re-injury.
Although RICE can help to treat these symptoms, ice and freezer gel packs reach temperatures so low they can cause cryoburn, an ice burn on your skin. The problem is, up until now there hasn't been another option to treat painful conditions and injuries, so ice and freezer gel packs have been the only choice.
Fortunately, you no longer have to settle for these ice cold methods that are uncomfortably cold against your skin, provide short term relief, cause ice burns, and numb your skin and underlying tissue beyond feeling so you don't even notice the ice burn until it's too late. Our Freezie Wraps® allows you to treat your tendonitis in an effective and convenient way. Cold Compression Therapy works by stopping and slowing nerve and cell function in the injured area and reducing swelling that can block blood vessels.
This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood to your damaged tendon and tissue cells begin to break-down. Without cold compression therapy cellular break-down and tissue damage continues because the cells can't get the oxygen they need to survive. By limiting the amount of damage done to your tendons, you also limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is a very important step to heal acute or chronic tendon injuries faster and with less pain!
I'll seem weird for you to read this, but there are a LOT of people out there that don't understand how fast cold compression with a Shoulder Freezie Wrap® can get the swelling / inflammation in your shoulder under control! After you get rid of the swelling for good you can start dealing with your shoulder injury and pain head on.
Use a Cold Compression Shoulder Freezie Wrap®:
- 24 to 72 hours after your initial tendon injury or when you first notice pain and swelling in your shoulder to stop cellular damage, relieve pain, and decrease swelling.
- After exercise, workouts or activity of any kind to prevent re-injury of your shoulder tendonitis.
- Before and after surgery during rehabilitation to control pre and post-surgery pain and swelling.
- Anytime you feel your shoulder has been over-extended, over-worked, twisted, strained or sprained causing pain and swelling.
- Anytime you have swelling, sharp throbbing pain or inflammation in the tendons in your shoulder.
- Any other situation where you need to draw the pain and inflammation out of your shoulder.
Step 2 - Improve Circulation, Soften Scar Tissue & Prevent Re-Injury with Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy
After the inflammation around your injured tendon has been reduced, you need to provide extra blood flow to strengthen your tendon tissue.
Promoting blood flow to your shoulder tendonitis to help your body heal itself is a concept that has been utilized for centuries. Oxygen and nutrients, carried within the blood, are critical for the body to heal itself. Without proper blood flow, your recovery from foot tendonitis will be delayed... sometimes for a very long period of time.
Even though the concept is simple, improving blood flow to foot while it's injured can be difficult. Traditional methods require your shoulder to move in order to promote blood flow - but that same motion that promotes blood flow can also make your pain and tendonitis much worse. Relying on movement alone to increase blood flow puts you in danger of re-injuring your shoulder.
So what do you do when you need to increase blood flow, but you can't move your shoulder without re-injuring your tendon?
This is where the Shoulder Inferno Wrap®
and Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ come in!
Using Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy (BFST®), will speed your recovery and heal your tendon injury more completely while preparing it for strengthening exercises. This is especially important for tendon injuries (torn tendon, tendon pain and tendon rupture) because tendons are known to receive very little natural blood flow. BFST® will increase the amount of blood that flows naturally to your tendon to nourish your tissue, improving elasticity and helping with the overall healing process. At this point in your healing, when the swelling's gone, increase blood flow is critical to your injury recovery.
Use a BFST Shoulder Inferno Wrap®:
- After swelling and inflammation have been reduced with cold compression.
- Before exercise or workouts to warm up the tendons in your shoulder to prevent re-injury.
- Before and after surgery during rehabilitation to warm up your tissues before physical therapy exercising or stretching.
- Anytime you feel the tendons in your shoulder have stiffened up, are tight and your mobility is reduced causing you more pain.
- Anytime you have sore or aching tissue in your shoulder.
- Any other situation where you need to increase blood flow to your shoulder tendonitis injury to relax your tendon, relieve pain, prevent re-injury and enhance flexibility of your tissue.
Use These Conservative Treatment Tools
to Deal with Scar Tissue
It's important to rest the torn tendon because our natural healing process takes time to heal completely. If you don't rest your torn tendon, your acute tendonitis can quickly turn into a chronic tendonitis injury. To repair our damaged tendon tissue quickly, our bodies will use scar tissue to fill in the tears in the tendon. If you need to rest for an extended period of time and avoid certain activities that make your pain worse, you'll be more likely to develop massive amounts of this scar tissue as a temporary healing measure.
Scar tissue may plague you for weeks, months and maybe even years, depending on your level of activity and the amount of conservative treatments you have done during your rehabilitation. Scar tissue is a major problem, especially when it comes to re-injury of your tendon. When dealing with scar tissue it's always important to:
- listen well to your physician and if conservative treatments are recommended, remember to stick to your (daily) treatment plan using these therapies.
- frequent use of the Freezie Wrap® will help reduce the swelling very quickly. Much of the pain you feel will be from the swelling, and you'd be surprised how fast the pain drops off once the swelling is down.
- Inferno Wrap® is a safe, electromagnetic energy device that will help reduce scar tissue and increase blood flow to the area (thereby accelerating the body's own healing process).
- when applied before stretching, the Inferno Wrap® will help flush the area with fresh blood. This will help improve your range of motion and prevent re-injury.
It may seem hard to believe, but our Freezie Wraps® and Inferno Wraps® will assist you in recovering from your injury faster and reduce the chance suffering from degenerative conditions (like arthritis or frozen shoulder) by maximizing blood flow where it's needed most and reducing swelling / inflammation induced pain.
Prevention and Promotion of Lifelong Health
If you want to avoid re-injury, or manage pain and increase circulation for lifelong health benefits. A Shoulder Freezie Wrap® and Inferno Wrap® will provide the results you are looking for.
Why spend time in pain, off from work, and missing out on your active lifestyle when you can be proactive about your injury and the health of your body? Talk to your doctor about incorporating a regular routine of using a Freezie Wrap® and Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ into your everyday health regimen.
Learn More About SUPERIOR Shoulder Tendonitis Treatments
Learn more about how the Freezie Wrap® is designed to be the most effective cold compression wrap on the market today.
Learn more about how the Inferno Wrap® helps with the healing process.