Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are there any stretches I can preform to correct a pain in my shoulder?"
I'm a 28 year old male. About a month ago I awoke with a stiff shoulder from what I assumed was sleeping on it in a bad position. I've lost a lot of strength in my right shoulder since that morning. It is painful to lift or extend my arm above shoulder height, and I'm unable to reach my left shoulder blade to scratch without sharp pain.
The shoulder is a complex joint because of the fact that it has the greatest range of motion of any of the joints in the body. There are several key muscles and tendons, as well as cartilage within the joint space, that are involved in maintaining shoulder strength, flexibility, and range of motion. A sudden change in your ability to use the joint--and the fact that you have pain with certain types of motion--suggests that there may be an injury to one of these muscles. An orthopedic surgeon is generally the best medical specialist to evaluate this injury, because he or she can do a detailed history and physical exam to try and identify what part of the shoulder is causing the problem. Imaging studies--in particular an MRI--can also be very helpful when evaluating shoulder pain that may be caused by soft-tissue injury. Orthopedic surgeons often work closely with physical therapists, and depending on the results of your exam and evaluation, you may be referred to physical therapy to work on exercises to strengthen the muscles and tendons of the shoulder. Because shoulder pain can come from so many different parts of the joint, it is difficult to recommend specific exercises without a full evaluation. However, while you wait to see a physician, anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen can sometimes help for pain relief.