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  • Writer's pictureDr Lim Mui Hong

My Painful and Stiff Shoulder

A 50 year old female was reviewed for her painful and stiffness shoulder. Her symptoms started gradually and progressively became worse. She had difficulty lifting up her arm and reaching to the back. It affected her sleep and daily activities of living such as washing hair and changing clothes.

This condition is commonly due to frozen shoulder, inflammation or tear of the rotator cuff tendons. The rotator cuff complex comprises of 4 tendons around the shoulder joint. It is responsible for moving the shoulder. Injury to the tendons will result in pain, stiffness and weakness of the shoulder.

Assessment of the condition will include consultation and investigations such as X-rays, ultrasound and MRI scans. Treatment will depend on the severity of the injury. Treatment modalities include medications, physiotherapy, joint injection and surgery.

Arthroscopic (key hole) surgery is commonly performed for treatment of shoulder conditions. A rotator cuff tendon tear is depicted in the illustration.

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