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Shoulder pain can impact your daily routine and diminish your quality of life. Besides stress on the joint tissue, diseases can also increase your risk of the condition. Dr. Steven Ferrer from Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine applies evidence-based techniques to alleviate pain and restore joint function.

Shoulder pain risk and cardiovascular diseases

Stress on the rotator cuff tissue is not the only factor causing shoulder pain. Heart disease and its associated symptoms may also be responsible for the condition.

A recent study reviewed more than 1,200 workers in manufacturing plants and risk factors for shoulder pain. Participants with high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure, were 4.6 times more susceptible to rotator cuff injuries. Those with a lower risk of heart disease were only 1.5 to 3.5 times as likely to experience shoulder pain.

Therefore, shoulder pain could be a sign of heart disease. Scientists do not fully understand the link between the two conditions. However, it is thought to be an issue with blood circulation, which diminishes when you have heart disease.

Pericarditis and shoulder pain

Pericarditis is a condition that irritates and causes swelling on the sac-like structure surrounding the heart. When the surface of the tissue rub against the other, it causes sharp pain.

The most recognizable symptom of pericarditis is a sharp pain in the chest. But the sensations may spread to the neck and shoulder. The symptoms typically progress from mild to severe.

Other signs are chest and shoulder pain that worsens while lying down and improves when sitting up. The primary cause is a viral infection. But it may also be due to a dysfunctional autoimmune system, injury, or trauma.

If left untreated, pericarditis can cause severe cardiovascular health complications. Your provider will perform a test to confirm if you have pericarditis.

Gallbladder disease

The principal role of the gallbladder is to produce bile, an essential chemical compound necessary for digestion.

Bile forms crystal-like substances that accumulate and become gallstones. They range in size from microscopic to the size of a tiny ball. Gallstones may cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

The phrenic nerve runs from the abdomen to your neck. Inflammation of the phrenic nerve causes discomfort and pain around the shoulders.

Since the phrenic nerve is responsible for abdominal muscle contraction, symptoms may include stomach and chest pain. Patients usually experience pain around the upper right side of the abdomen.

Factors increasing the risk of gallstones include:

  • A family history of gallstones
  • Obesity or a rapid weight loss
  • Birth control pills
  • Liver disease or diabetes

Getting treatment for shoulder pain

You can address mild discomfort around your shoulder by using an ice pack or over-the-counter pain relievers. But you should consult your provider if you have symptoms like redness, swelling, and joint tenderness. If shoulder pain is accompanied by chest or abdominal discomfort, you may have heart disease or gallbladder disease.

Your provider may recommend non-invasive treatments like physiotherapy, nutritional, canceling, or regenerative medicine. However, a thorough assessment is crucial before prescribing therapy.

Contact Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine to schedule an appointment with Dr. Steven Ferrer today.

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