Calcification of shoulder and calcification of other joints often irritates tendons and other structures around the joints. This state, called calcific tendonitis, causes pain and restricted movement of the joint. If you don’t act immediately, calcification in the shoulder tendon may also – due to irritation – cause a condition called frozen shoulder (shoulder bursitis).
Shoulder pain when lifting arm?
Are you among those who feel pain during sleeping on a painful shoulder or painful side? Do you have difficulty lifting arm and stretching the arms above your head or reach behind your back? Does the pain from the shoulder reach the elbow or even the wrist? I have different suggestions for you to solve those issues.
Shoulder pain in front side – calcification of shoulder
Firstly, let’s talk about the cause of shoulder calcification. Even though the cause is not completely known, experts are noticing that calcium often accumulates in the shoulder in spots of previous tendon injuries or where too much strain has been put on the tendon.
Calcification in the shoulder accumulates on degenerated tendons that become dry, rigid or even covered in scar tissue due to poorer blood circulation. This most often happens on the most loaded tendon in the shoulder – supraspinatus tendon.
Because this tendon attaches to the bone (humerus head) in the front side of the shoulder below the AC joint, one can feel the pain exactly at this point. Typically for injured supraspinatus tendon is that it might cause transferred pain from shoulder to elbow or even wrist.
Calcification of shoulder could also be the cause of shoulder bursitis.
Calcification of shoulder occurs relatively often, especially in women between the age of 40 and 60 years.
Hard strains like heavy lifting and carrying as well as active performance of sports, that include a lot of repetitive arm movements, cause a certain overuse of the joint and the structures around it. However, let’s not forget about previous serious injuries – traumas (traumatic arthritis).
Excessive calcium content in drinking water
Up until now, it has been said that accumulation of calcium on tendons is not related to food or excessive consumption of calcium. This is still true. However, new research also shows that we get the most calcium into our bodies through drinking water, since the calcium content in has been extremely high lately.
Calcification of shoulder – treatment
First of all: examination by a specialised orthopaedist
Even though certain movement patterns may hint to a possible shoulder tendon calcification or shoulder calcification, this certainly needs to be confirmed with x-ray or ultrasound picture diagnostics. Ultrasound diagnostics can only be done by a specialized doctor. In most cases, the doctor prescribes painkillers and anti-inflammatory physiotherapy (ultrasound and electrotherapy), however, this will not physically remove the calcification, even though it will ease the inflammation. Physiotherapist use different methods to break down calcium.
Special physiotherapeutic approach: breaking the calcification of shoulder
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy or ESWT – first choice
ESWT or extracorporeal shock wave therapy causes the breaking down of calcium in the shoulder. Do you already know this kind of therapy?
Extracorporeal shock waves are apart from the Tecar therapy practically the only solution from a view of a physiotherapeutic approach when we talk about shoulder calcification.
The working mechanism of the ESWT causes pain relieve. The therapy has an analgetic effect, it accelerates cell division and regulates the inflammation process. Extracorporeal shock waves can also cause a cavitation process that changes possible calcinations in soft tissue and facilitates their resorption.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is performed every 3-5 days or even once per week with the highest density of energy flow that the patient can bear without analgetics. Yes, this therapy isn’t the most comfortable, but it is extremely efficient.
Tecar therapy for shoulder calcification
Tecar therapy is a hyperthermia therapy that warms up the tissue on the inside up to 40°C. It melts and dissolves the calcium.
Tecar therapy is an innovative therapy that stimulates natural and regenerative processes. As opposed to other methods, Tecar therapy works from inside. With the transmission of biocompatible radiation energy it intensively activates the affected area by stimulating affected biological tissue. Therefore, it renews injured tendons and accelerates the rehabilitation process.
Shoulder calcification- exercises by physiotherapist
We have to keep the shoulder flexible. The most recommended exercise in the acute phase is to relax the arm, lean slightly forwards and let the arm do circular movements within the limits (of flexibility) as shown in the image below. The more often you remember to do this during the day, the better.
Don’t miss exercises for shoulder calcification, with which you can strengthen your shoulder and stabilise the shoulder joint.
Other solutions for shoulder pain in front side due to shoulder clacification
Home remedies – yes or no?
Some swear on home remedies. How effective is this? – I honestly have no idea. It includes different combinations of different herbal teas that should melt the calcium as well as consumption of prescribed minimal amounts of sea salt in combination with a lot of water, drinking lemonade, and the use of lemon patches.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist carefully before use, since those are home remedies, if not “old wives’ tales”.
Often, if not almost always, your general practitioner decides to prescribe you painkillers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or even sends you to a specialist to receive blockade injections. It all depends, of course, where and how much calcium has accumulated, how extensive the soft tissue inflammation is, and if there is liquid or a torn tendon. In rare cases, some even opt for surgery – arthroscopy.