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General Practice 2023

Shoulder tendonitis: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Shoulder tendonitis: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
Shoulder tendonitis: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

Shoulder tendinitis is an inflammation that arises in a tendon of the shoulder and can result in symptoms such as pain, tingling and difficulty lifting the arm above the head.

This type of problem is more common in people who do some type of activity with repeated arm movements, such as swimming or painting, for example, but it can occur in anyone.

In the presence of symptoms indicative of tendinitis in the shoulder, it is recommended that the person consult an orthopedist or physical therapist so that an evaluation can be carried out and the most appropriate treatment can be initiated, which may involve the use of medication, physical therapy and, in the most severe cases, surgery.

Main symptoms

Symptoms of shoulder tendinitis arise as the tendon becomes inflamed due to repetitive movements and tends to get worse at night due to the stretching of the muscles while sleeping.

Symptoms may include:

  • Severe localized pain in the shoulder that may come on suddenly;
  • Difficulty lifting the arm above the shoulder line;
  • Feeling as if the pain has spread throughout the arm;
  • Shoulder tingling in some cases.

In the presence of these symptoms, it is important that the orthopedist or physical therapist be consulted so that an evaluation can be carried out and the most appropriate treatment can be indicated to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms.

Possible causes

The most common causes of shoulder tendinitis are intense and repetitive straining with the arm or even staying for long periods in a bad posture, such as sleeping all night on your stomach, with your head resting on your arm, as that this position causes the shoulder tendons to be more stretched.

In addition, the tendon can become inflamed and injured due to excessive use of the arms in elevation, which can happen due to physical or professional activities, such as swimming, volleyball, tennis and in professions such as carpenters, teachers and painters, who are the professionals who most commonly suffer from this type of tendinitis.

How the diagnosis is made

The diagnosis of shoulder tendinitis should be made by the orthopedist or physical therapist, initially by evaluating the symptoms presented by the person and performing physical exams. In addition, in some cases, it may also be indicated that an image exam is performed to identify the stage in which the tendinitis is, namely:

  • Stage 1: Sharp pain, small bleeding inside the joint and swelling. Symptoms worsen with arm movements and improve with rest, and generally affect more young people;
  • Phase 2: Pain remains constant and ultrasound shows fibrosis with thickening of the subacromial bursa and tendinitis of the rotator cuff or biceps brachii, and usually occurs between 25 and 40 years of age;
  • Stage 3: Partial or total rupture of the rotator cuff or biceps brachii, being more common after the age of 40.

Thus, from the moment the tendonitis phase in the shoulder is verified, the doctor or physical therapist can start the most appropriate treatment, being important in all situations that the person avoids moving the inflamed shoulder during a predetermined period so you can recover faster.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for shoulder tendinitis aims to reduce inflammation of the shoulder tendon, relieving symptoms and allowing the person to perform daily activities without pain, in addition to preventing tendon rupture.The recommended treatment may vary according to the stage of tendinitis and symptoms presented, and the use of medication, physical therapy or surgery may be indicated in the most severe cases.

1. Remedies

The use of medication can be indicated by the orthopedist to help relieve pain and inflammation, and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs is indicated for this. In addition, the use of an anti-inflammatory ointment that should be applied to the entire shoulder may also be indicated.

In more severe cases, when even after starting physical therapy there is no significant improvement in the pain, the doctor may recommend an injection of corticosteroids directly into the shoulder, which has a stronger analgesic and anti-inflammatory action.

See some examples of home remedies that can help cure tendinitis.

2. Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is important in the treatment of shoulder tendinitis, because it helps to reduce inflammation and promotes joint strengthening, helping to relieve symptoms.Thus, according to the characteristics of tendinitis, the physical therapist can perform some techniques such as TENS, ultrasound and laser, in addition to exercises that help increase the range of motion and strengthen the shoulder.

Recovery time may vary from person to person, however, in general, it usually takes 3 months of physical therapy treatment to be able to perform the movements without any pain or discomfort.

3. Surgery

Surgery for tendonitis in the shoulder is indicated when, after 6 months to 1 year of conservative treatment, with medication and physical therapy, they are not enough to reestablish the movements, in a satisfactory way. Surgery is also indicated when there is tendon rupture, pain and significant muscle weakness, but in many cases tendon rupture in people over 60 years of age can also be treated only with medication and physiotherapy, and therefore it is up to the doctor to make this decision..

How long does recovery take

Recovery time varies greatly from person to person, as the severity of tendinitis, the person's age, and adherence to treatment must all be taken into account. However, on average, at least 3 months of treatment may be necessary for mobility recovery.

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