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Shoulder stiffness: Causes and treatment

BY: David Prakash Kumar | Category: Health and Fitness | Post Date: 2009-12-30

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   David Prakash Kumar
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Shoulder stiffness is a very common problem and it affects a lot of people. There are certain groups of people who are more at risk of having shoulder problems including stiffness. The causes can vary depending on the kind of condition or disease that the person has. There are certain diseases and conditions that cause the person to be more at risk of getting shoulder stiffness. This article lists the various causes of the shoulder stiffness and their treatment.

Causes of shoulder stiffness:

1. Injury:

There are a lot of people who have various kinds of injuries or trauma to their shoulder and this is one of the major causes of the shoulder stiffness. This is because the person who has an injury to the shoulder tries to reduce the pain by avoiding any movement to the shoulder and this lack of movement to the shoulder causes the person to have stiff shoulders within a few weeks. Most of the times, the person will not even know that the shoulder is getting stiff till it is too late.

2. Cervical spondylosis:

This is a condition that causes pain radiating from the neck to the hands and the person has pain relief if they do not elevate the shoulder and this makes the person keep the shoulder to the body. After a few weeks, the person is found to have stiffness of the shoulder.

3. Muscle or ligament injury in the shoulder:

Similar to the other kinds of injuries, the person who has muscle or ligament injuries in the shoulder have pain and they try to avoid movement leading to stiffness.

4. Diabetes:

People with diabetes are more prone to get shoulder stiffness than many other groups of people. This is probably due to a combination of factors that cause the persons shoulder to be stiff and this can lead to a condition called frozen shoulder and as the name indicates, all the structures in the shoulder are frozen stiff.

5. Post cardiac surgery:

In cardiac surgery, the sternum is cut open and the person is given exercises to mobilize the shoulder from the day after the surgery. In spite of this, there are many people who develop shoulder stiffness as a complication of the cardiac surgery. This is because they are scared to lift their hands and also avoid doing this finally ending up with shoulder stiffness.

Treatment for shoulder stiffness:

The person can have various kinds of treatment for the shoulder stiffness including medications, exercises and surgery.

Medications are usually given to relieve the pain that is associated with the shoulder stiffness.

Exercises include shoulder bracing exercises where the person does movements where the shoulder has to be elevated in various directions. The person has to abduct the shoulder and try to touch the ears with the sides of the arm, with the fingers pointing skywards. The other kinds of exercises include trying to touch your back using the hands and this will also help to loosen the stiffness in the shoulder.

Surgery is done to try and break down the stiffness, but is not always indicated because the stiffness can occur again if there is no physical therapy after the surgical manipulation.

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