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Shoulder Pain After a Workout

author image Rose Kitchen
Rose Kitchen is a freelance medical writer pursuing a bachelor's degree in sociology and education. She has a nursing background and is going back to nursing school in September 2011 for her R.N. Kitchen holds a certificate in anatomy and physiology and English and is pursuing certificates in natural and alternative medicine, fitness and nutrition and sports nutrition.
Shoulder Pain After a Workout
Man icing shoulder. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

The shoulder is made up of the collarbone, shoulder blade and the upper arm bone. Upper body workouts or sports that require the use of your arms put your shoulders at risk for injuries. If you get shoulder pain after a workout, immediately stop the exercise and consult a physician. Pain indicates that something is wrong, and only a doctor can determine what the issue is.

Shoulder Joint Tear

Repetitive shoulder motion or acute trauma may cause a tear in the shoulder joint. Trauma may include falling on your arm when it is outstretched, a sudden pull, experiencing a direct blow to your shoulder and violently reaching overhead. Wrestlers and throwing athletes are particularly at risk. Symptoms may include pain, losing strength, shoulder instability, a reduction in range of motion and locking, popping, catching and grinding in the affected shoulder. Treatment typically includes a type of anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy and possibly surgery.

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Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

This condition is characterized by the tendons in your shoulder becoming inflamed. Throwing a ball repeatedly is the most common cause, but lifting weights above your head, regular swimming, pitching in baseball or softball, or playing tennis can also cause the condition. Symptoms include pain when you move the affected shoulder, weakness and difficulty using the affected shoulder. Treatment typically includes rest, icing, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy. If the pain is severe, your doctor may prescribe steroid injections. Surgery may be necessary if your rotator cuff is completely torn.

Shoulder Impingement

This is one of the most common reasons that adults experience shoulder pain, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. This condition is characterized by pressure on your rotator cuff from an area of your shoulder blade when you lift your arm. Athletes commonly experience this, especially those who swim, play tennis or baseball, due to frequently lifting their arms above their heads. Symptoms may include pain, radiating pain, local tenderness, and swelling and stiffness. As this condition becomes worse, you may lose range of motion and strength. In the most advanced cases, severe tenderness, limited movement, pain and frozen shoulder may occur. Treatment usually begins with resting the affected shoulder, stretching exercises, local cortisone and anesthetic injections into the affected shoulder, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. When these treatments fail, surgery may be necessary.

Dislocated Shoulder

This is a traumatic injury and it is very common. The shoulder's high mobility makes it vulnerable to dislocation. A dislocation means the upper arm bone is forced out of the shoulder joint. A blow to the shoulder, or a violent pull can cause this. Symptoms may include a “popping” feeling, severe pain, a deformed look, swelling and bruising. Treatment includes using manipulation to put the shoulder back in place. Once this is done, treatment may include medications, immobilization, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery is necessary, according to the Sports Injury Clinic.

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