Periatritis of the shoulder: how it can be cured

It is one of the main causes of shoulder pain. The pain is provoked by small calcium deposits that are formed at the level of this joint.

Periatricitis is a very generic term, commonly used to indicate numerous painful muscle, tendon and joint pathologies that can affect the shoulder.

In most cases, however, it is used to refer to a very common disorder: calcific tendinitis. This condition, responsible for up to 40 percent of shoulder pain cases, is a consequence of the formation of small calcium deposits inside the rotator cuff, a structure formed by four tendons that contribute to the movement of the shoulder in the various planes of space.

In some cases, calcium deposits are present for years without giving any symptoms; However, it is possible that, by enlarging or hitting the adjacent structures during arm movements, they can inflame the tendons present inside the rotator cuff and start the pain.

Another very common form of shoulder periarthritis is the scapulohumeral periarthritis, which particularly affects those who practice sports or work activities that require keeping the arm raised above the shoulder for a long time.

The disease

Periarthritis of the shoulder causes pain that can be faded in the early stages, and then become very disabling.

The pain often occurs at night (regardless of whether the arm is moved or not), worsens under exertion and can cause difficulty in performing simple movements.

It usually affects only one shoulder, although sometimes it can be bilateral. An X-ray is needed for diagnosis, but an ultrasound can also be useful.

The causes are not clear: inflammation can be caused by falls, trauma, repetitive movements that overload the shoulder joint or by simply advancing age, which tends to wear these structures. In the case of calcific tendinitis it is thought that its development may be associated with hormonal factors, given the clear predilection for the female sex.

Possible treatments

Periarthritis of the shoulder is a benign condition and in most cases conservative treatment is sufficient. In the acute phase to reduce pain and inflammation it is good to keep the arm at rest and resort to ice packs; moreover, in this phase it is also indicated the administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can be taken by mouth, or applied topically in the form of gel or medicated patches, which act in a short time thanks to rapid absorption into the skin. Shock waves are also widely used.

Once the acute phase is over, heat therapy can be useful, which has an analgesic effect thanks to its ability to attenuate the transmission of painful stimuli and to counteract the production of substances that support them. You can apply a warm cloth for 5-10 minutes, several times a day, or a practical self-heating band, to be left in place for up to 8 hours.

If the disorder does not resolve and tends to become chronic, local injections of corticosteroids may be useful. If the pain recurs, you can repeat the treatment or consider the need for surgery.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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