Why does my shoulder hurt when I reach across my body? 

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint and keep it in place. These muscles and tendons help lift the arm and rotate it inwards and outwards. The shoulder is a super complex joint that has the most range of motion in the body, which inherently makes it unstable. The job of your rotator cuff muscles is to move your arm and stabilize your shoulder joint.

Let’s dive into why these tendons can cause so much naggy pain in your shoulder when you reach across your body.

Why does my shoulder hurt when I reach across my body.

The main cause of pain in the rotator cuff is subacromial impingement. This occurs when the rotator cuff muscles and tendons are prevented from moving freely by the bones of the shoulder joint. This can cause pain and inflammation in the muscles and tendons.

Shoulder impingement is a painful condition in which the bursa and muscles of the shoulder are pinched or compressed. This area contains the rotator cuff tendons and bursae and is identified by the red in the illustration below. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that reduces the friction on tendons and muscles as they cross boney surfaces. A tendon is a thick collagen tissue that connects muscles to bones. The rotator cuff tendons provide important support and enable movement in the shoulder.

Common Symptoms of shoulder pain when reaching across the body

Dull Aching pain is the most common symptom. The pain can be on the back of the shoulder, the side of the shoulder or even down the front of the shoulder. Some people will also describe their shoulder as unstable or even point out a clicking or clunking sound when they move their arm around.

The old way of treating pain – Take the batteries out of the fire alarm.

Imagine the fire alarm is going off in your house because there is an actual fire. You have a couple of options – 1) You can just take the batteries out of the alarm and just ignore the fact that the loud siren going off is for an important reason or 2) You can put the fire out and the fire alarm will stop.

When you have pain and you just end up taking muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory medications, or getting cortisone injections – you’re just covering up the pain signals your body created. Just like taking the batteries out of your fire alarm, taking these pills and cortisone shots don’t actually fix what was causing your pain.

So when you go to your regular orthopedic surgeon, they are going to just cover up your pain until it’s bad enough to perform a surgery on you.

A better way to treat your shoulder pain – Put out the fire

But it doesn’t have to be like that. You can actually put out the fire and the fire alarm will stop on it’s own.

It sounds so simple when I say it, but your body has this amazing ability to heal itself. Sometimes we get in the way (by using ice, taking NSAIDs) and disrupt this natural healing process. Sometimes we end up causing a little too much damage or repeatedly stressing a tissue and our body just can’t keep up like it needs to.

That’s where regenerative treatments come into play. I’ve found prolotherapy for shoulder pain to be one of the most effective tools at treating shoulder pain when reaching across the body.

What is prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy is an innovative technique that relieves pain by directly impacting the underlying condition causing that pain. In contrast to many medical treatments that may provide only temporary benefits, this safe, proven treatment offers lasting relief. Many conditions respond well to prolotherapy, such as facet syndrome (back and neck arthritis), whiplash, joint sprains, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, tennis elbow, sprains, chronic tendonitis, and more.

How does prolotherapy help my shoulder pain?

Prolotherapy promotes long-term, often permanent pain relief by stimulating the body’s ability to repair itself. A solution of concentrated dextrose, vitamins and ozone are placed directly into the affected ligaments, tendons, or joint capsules. This solution works by stimulating the body’s natural ability to repair these tissues, encouraging growth of new ligament or tendon fibers. The procedure is performed every 2 to 4 weeks until the healing is complete. For the vast majority of shoulder pain when reaching across the body 3-6 sessions is necessary to get you to the point where you can return to normal activities without pain.

I’ve performed close to multiple hundreds of shoulder procedures and I am constantly blown away at how effective proltherapy is when it comes to helping shoulder pain when reaching across your body.

Picture of Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM

Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM

Dr. Josh Hanson specializes in treating chronic pain and providing fertility support. He has performed 40,000+ procedures over the last 10+ years. Dr. Hanson has a clinic in Tampa, FL where patients travel from all over Florida to receive cutting edge care.

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