Why Do My Shoulders Hurt When I Sneeze Or Cough
Two potential reasons your shoulders hurt upon sneezing and coughing are:
- Pleurisy: This is a condition where your lungs and chest become inflamed, causing a sharp pain when you cough, sneeze and breathe. It typically only causes chest pain, but the pain can travel to between your shoulders as well.
- A spinal disc irritation or injury: When your spinal discs are injured, your nerves are compressed, causing irritation and spasms. Sneezing and coughing puts pressure on your nerves and discs usually, so when theyre irritated, this causes pain in your shoulders and arms.
Causes And Risk Factors
Once thought of as a wear and tear phenomenon, the actual cause of osteoarthritis is unknown . However, several factors that contribute to the condition have been identified, including:
- Prior shoulder surgery
- Inflammatory conditions
- Overuse of the shoulder
Those who are at greatest risk for developing shoulder arthritis are those who partake in high intensity overhead activities, such as:
- A history of when, and during what activities the shoulder hurts
Your doctor will also perform one or several of the following imaging exams:
- A computed tomography scan
- A magnetic resonance imaging scan
What Is A Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, is a painful shoulder condition. Like shoulder arthritis, both conditions involve pain and loss of motion in your shoulder.
Frozen shoulder occurs when the strong connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint becomes thick, stiff, and inflamed. Even without treatment, frozen shoulder gets better on its own. This may take from a few months to a couple of years.
Shoulder arthritis doesnt get better on its own. Arthritis attacks the shoulder joint itself, not the surrounding joint capsule.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Shoulder arthritis can be painful and affect the quality of your life. Although theres no cure for arthritis, there are many ways to ease your pain. You can use ice, heat and exercises to keep your shoulder loose and comfortable. Also, limit or avoid activities that are causing you pain. If these simple methods dont relieve your pain, ask your healthcare provider about surgical options. Reaching out to your provider is the first step toward confirming the cause of your shoulder pain and developing a treatment plan that can best ease your symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/28/2022.
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Talk With Your Doctor
If you have any ongoing symptoms of shoulder pain, its important to share them with your doctor so you can get the right diagnosis. Share with him or her as many details as you can about your symptoms, including when and how long they occur, what the pain feels like , and what you were doing when the pain started.
There are treatment options for both shoulder arthritis and bursitis, so pain relief may be as close as a visit with your doctor.
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Physical Therapy And Exercises
Your rheumatologist may recommend physical therapy to help improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion. Physical therapy for arthritis in the neck involves performing exercises designed to stretch and strengthen weak, strained muscles and improve range of motion and posture.
Although moving your neck may feel like the last thing you want to do when youre in pain, it can actually help. Being inactive can increase neck stiffness, further decreasing the joints mobility.
The military chin tuck is one exercise that may help improve posture. To perform this exercise, tuck your chin toward your neck for 10 to 20 seconds and repeat 10 times each day. Strengthening the shoulders can also help provide additional support to the neck. Exercises like shoulder rolls can help keep the joints in the shoulders and neck flexible.
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Push Up Against Shoulder Pain
Pushups are considered one of the best all-around exercises. They work muscles in your upper body and core while increasing your metabolic rate. You can still do pushups with shoulder arthritis, but youll need to make some modifications.
Instead of pushing away the floor, consider wall pushups. This method can ensure better alignment and less shoulder strain. Perform a few reps a day. Only increase the duration if you dont experience any pain. You shouldnt have pain at any time while doing pushups.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Shoulder
Overview Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the immune system. This is the system that protects you from infection. RA may cause pain and stiffness in your shoulder where the humerus meets the shoulder socket. It can also affect the joint where your clavicle meets your scapula.
Causes The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not fully understood. Genetics and environmental factors may both play a role. When the disease is triggered, the body begins to attack its own healthy tissues. The body attacks the tissue that lines and protects your joints. Cartilage breaks down. This can allow bone to rub against bone. Bony spurs may form.
Symptoms RA can cause pain, swelling and stiffness in your shoulder. It can limit your shoulders range of motion. You may feel grinding or popping sensations when you move your arm. RA often affect both sides of the body equally. If you have it in one shoulder, you are likely to have it in the other.
Treatment Treatment options may include rest and medications. You may need to modify your daily activities. You may benefit from physical therapy. You may also benefit from a surgical procedure. Your healthcare provider can design a care plan that is right for your needs.
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Anatomy Of The Shoulder
Your shoulder is made up of three bones: the humerus , scapula , and the clavicle . There are also two joints in the shoulder. One is located where the clavicle meets the tip of the shoulder blade , called the acromioclavicular joint. The other is located where the humerus fits into the scapula, called the glenohumeral joint.
To provide you with the best care, your physician will need to find which joint is affected and what type of arthritis you have.
Pain Between Shoulder Blades: Causes And Treatments
By Geoff McKinnenCertified Sleep Coach
Shoulder blade pain, also called interscapular pain, is common, though the cause ranges widely, from minor tweaks to medical emergencies. Shoulder pain is characterized by dull, aching, burning, or shooting
Shoulder blade pain, also called interscapular pain, is common, though the cause ranges widely, from minor tweaks to medical emergencies. Shoulder pain is characterized by dull, aching, burning, or shooting sensations. You may also have difficulty using the affected arm or the feeling of a pulled muscle.
Typically, shoulder blade pain is mild and goes away on its own, however, certain conditions potentially cause chronic or severe shoulder pain. This article discusses the numerous causes of shoulder pain, possible treatment options, and how you can prevent future shoulder pain.
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About The Shoulder Joint
The shoulder is made up of three bones: the humerus , the clavicle , and the scapula . There are two joints in the shoulder that help it to move: the acromioclavicular joint and the glenohumeral joint.
The acromioclavicular joint is located where the highest point of the scapula meets the clavicle. The glenohumeral joint is the ball and socket joint between the scapula and humerus.
A combination of muscles and tendonscalled the rotator cuffkeep the arm centered into the shoulder socket. The joints of the shoulder are protected by the synovium, which also lubricates them and makes them easier to move.
Damage to the shoulder joints is often caused by inflammation or injury to the cartilage of the shoulder joint. Cartilage breakdown can affect both the glenohumeral joint and the acromioclavicular joint.
- Fatigue, fever, or weight loss, resulting from severe shoulder inflammation
- Crepitusgrinding, clicking, or cracking notices of the joints
- Lock-up of the shoulder because the surfaces lining the joint are no longer smooth or slide in certain positions
- Pain aggravated by activity
Shoulder involvement tends to be worse in people who have long-term RA and who are older at the onset of the disease. As shoulder involvement worsens, movement of the shoulder gets harder and there may be significant pain. Night pain is common and makes it harder to sleep.
What Does Ra In The Shoulder Feel Like
The most common symptom of shoulder arthritis is pain. When RA affects the AC joint, a person will feel the pain centered around the top of the shoulder. The pain may also radiate or move toward the side of the neck. RA in the glenohumeral joint leads to deep, aching pain focused in the back of the shoulder. This pain may worsen with changes in the weather. People whose rheumatoid arthritis affects both joints may feel pain throughout the shoulder.
Some myRAteam members have said RA shoulder pain causes many different sensations. As one member wrote when their symptoms started “acting up again in the winter, The pain started in my left shoulder and now has migrated to my right shoulder. And if it goes like previous years, it ping-pongs back and forth between the two shoulders for the next few months, anyway until spring comes along.
Aside from pain, RA in the shoulder can also cause limited range of motion. You may have trouble lifting your arm above your head, or you may hear a clicking, grinding, or snapping sound when moving your shoulder. Another member shared that the discomfort in their shoulders, shoulder blades, and neck causes more stiffness than pain.
Shoulder pain is common up to 70 percent of people experience it at least once. If you start noticing discomfort, redness, or swelling in your shoulder, talk to a doctor or your dermatologist. They will be able to determine if RA is, in fact, causing your symptoms.
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Types Of Arthritis That Affect The Shoulder
There are five main types of arthritis that can affect the shoulder. So far we discussed the most common type, which is osteoarthritis degeneration of the joint.
Another type of arthritis that affects the shoulder is rheumatoid arthritis . It is an autoimmune condition, meaning, the bodys own immune system mistakenly attacks itself. Along with shoulder pain, RA in the shoulder may also lead to tenderness, stiffness, rheumatoid nodules, fever, weight loss, and fatigue.
Post-traumatic arthritis is brought on by an injury to the shoulder. PA can also result in fluid buildup in the shoulder, pain, and swelling. It commonly occurs as a result of a sports injury or other type of accident.
Avascular necrosis destroys the shoulder joint tissue when the blood cannot reach the bones in the shoulder. As a result, bone cells begin to die. AVN can occur from joint dislocation or bone fracture and can also be a result of taking steroids or drinking high amounts of alcohol. AVN is a progressive disorder, which means it worsens over time.
Lastly, rotator cuff tear arthropathy occurs as a result of an injury to the rotator cuff, which is comprised of muscles and tendons connecting the shoulder blade to the top of your arm. This type of arthritis is usually caused by a rip in the rotator cuff which can lead to intense pain and weakness.
How Ra Drugs May Affect The Nervous System
Common drugs used to treat RA may affect the nervous system. For example, steroid treatment can be linked to impaired thinking, hypomania , and depression. Methotrexate, a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug , may cause headaches or problems with concentration.7-10
Some DMARDs, such as sulfasalazine or leflunomide, may lead to peripheral neuropathy . TNF-inhibitors, which may be known as biologic drugs, are known to lead to demyelinating disorders, such as multiple sclerosis or Guillain-Barré syndrome. These can result in life-threatening paralysis. Though these conditions may be possible, they are rare.7-10
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What Happens If Arthritis Is Left Untreated
If some types of arthritis are left untreated, joint deformity and permanent damage to the joints may occur. Untreated rheumatoid arthritis can lead to complications such as cardiovascular disease, lung problems, and eye inflammation. Treatment may not be necessary for arthritis with minimal or no symptoms.
How Does Ra Affect The Shoulder
RA is common in the 2 joints of the shoulder, though it tends to affect them mainly in the later stages of the disease. The joints include:3
- Acromioclavicular joint This is located where the collarbone meets the tip of the shoulder blade
- Glenohumeral joint This is located where the head of the upper arm bone fits into the scapula
In people with RA, the bodys immune system attacks the healthy tissues inside the joints. This causes an inflammatory response that results in swelling and pain, especially when the joint is used. Common symptoms of RA in the shoulder joints include:3-5
- Redness or warmth in or around the shoulder
- Limited range of motion
- Pain focused on the top of the shoulder that may radiate to the side of the neck if the AC joint is affected
- Pain centered in the back of the shoulder if the glenohumeral joint is affected
Swelling is also common, though it is often hard to detect during a physical exam. As the condition progresses, it may also cause a grinding, clicking, or snapping sound when you move your shoulder.3
RA sometimes symmetrical, which means it usually affects the same joints on both sides of the body. As the condition gets worse, ligaments, joints, and cartilage become more damaged. Glenohumeral joint damage often leads to severely limited movement that is sometimes called frozen shoulder syndrome.3-5
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Can Ra Cause Rotator Cuff Pain
Rotator cuff tear secondary to chronic synovitis eroding the rotator cuff tendon is a complication of rheumatoid arthritis that has received little attention. Patients with such tears have a long history of active rheumatoid disease preceding the sudden onset of increased unilateral shoulder pain and immobility.
Pain Management And Treatment For Ra In The Shoulder
Many different treatments exist for shoulder RA symptoms. Some myRAteam members find pain relief from their systemic medications, and others use additional at-home remedies, such as hot and cold therapy, to help ease stiffness and discomfort.
If youre experiencing RA symptoms in your shoulder, talk to your doctor about finding the right combination of treatments to alleviate pain and swelling. They may prescribe or recommend the following options.
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Arthritis In The Shoulders
Having arthritis can often feel like you need a shoulder to lean on, especially if its your shoulder that hurts.
Each shoulder contains a joint supported by muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Arthritis causes inflammation in the joints, including those in your shoulder, as well as a breakdown of the cartilage that cushions your bones. This causes the characteristic pain and stiffness of arthritis.
There are over 100 different types of arthritis. The three main types are osteoarthritis , rheumatoid arthritis , and psoriatic arthritis . Each type develops differently, and all require different medical treatment. However, certain workouts can help relieve arthritis symptoms.
Following are some tips for exercising when you have arthritis in your shoulders.
Symptoms Of Shoulder Osteoarthritis
This may be the type of arthritis that first comes to mind when you hear that term. There are two main types of shoulder osteoarthritis: glenohumeral . Arthritis and acromioclavicular arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes joint pain from wear and tear over many years. It alters your entire joint and isnt currently reversible. Usually, OA occurs when the cartilage in the joint breaks down over many years. Cartilage provides padding between bones in your joints. Without enough cartilage, it can become very painful to move your joint.
For both types, your symptoms will typically include a combination of the following symptoms
- Pain Comes and Goes The pain may come and go but it will build up gradually. It can get worse over months and years.
- Pain Caused By Inactivity If you notice more pain in the morning with your first movements of the day but feel better the more you move around.
- Loss of Motion Not being able to raise your arm over your head to put on your shirt.
- Pain From Activities Glenohumeral arthritis will cause pain when you lift a bag of groceries and acromioclavicular arthritis will cause pain as you reach across your body to buckle your seat belt.
Aging, overuse of the joint, injury, and being overweight can influence your likelihood of developing OA. However, while there is no cure for shoulder osteoarthritis, there are many treatments to help slow down its progression and reduce pain.
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What Is Shoulder Osteoarthritis
The shoulder is made up of three bones: the scapula , the humerus and the clavicle . The part of the scapula that makes up the socket of the shoulder joint is called the glenoid. The ball and socket joint where the glenoid and the humerus is the shoulder joint. There is another small joint just above the shoulder called the acromioclavicular joint. This is where your collar bone meets the shoulder blade. Osteoarthritis can affect either of these joints.
When a joint develops osteoarthritis some of the cartilage covering the joint surfaces can gradually roughen and become thin. The bone underneath the cartilage then reacts by growing thicker and becoming broader, which can result in pain, swelling and restricted joint movement.
Most of the time there is no obvious reason for arthritis. It can develop as part of the natural ageing process, due to an injury, underlying inflammatory joint disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or a shoulder tendon problem . People with underlying neurological problems may also be affected.