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Shoulder Girdle Syndrome

Shoulder Girdle Syndrome

Shoulder Girdle Syndrome, also referred to as Paralytic Neuritis Syndrome, idiopathic brachial plexopathy, or neuralgic amyotrophy is an uncommon neurological disorder. It causes a sudden onset of shoulder pain followed by weakness without any specific cause of injury. This condition affects roughly up to three people in every 100,000 individuals per year. The weakness generally involves a few muscle groups of the shoulder (eg. Deltoid, Supraspinatus and Infraspinatus and sometimes Levator Scapulae and Rhomboid Muscles).

What Causes Shoulder Sprain?

Unlike other forms of shoulder injuries, Shoulder Girdle Syndrome has no known cause, it happens rapidly, and the severity of the disorder may vary depending on the individual. But it is associated with immunological reactions and there are a few risk factors that can contribute to it such as:
• Recent history of a viral illness
• Recent immunization
• Recent surgery, childbirth, or radiation treatment
• Parasitic infection

frozen shoulder pain

Symptoms Of Shoulder Girdle Syndrome

Sudden sharp, aching, burning, or stabbing pain. The pain may extend to the arm and rarely to the hand. The pain also gets worse at night. The duration of the pain lasts one to three weeks.
After the initial sudden onset of pain, you may gradually feel a loss of strength – this can be mild or severe. Weakness often occurs after the pain has settled down (ie. after a few weeks of the onset of pain).
Additional Symptoms
Very rarely, sensory deficits may occur in a small proportion of cases, some have also experienced a prickling, burning sensation in the affected area or numbness. This condition affects more strength and power rather than numbness, giving a “paralytic neuritis” picture.

A Message About Shoulder Girdle Syndrome

This type of shoulder pain is difficult to differentiate from a referred pain coming from the neck (i.e. Cervical Radiculopathy). In a slipped disc or bone spur affecting the cervical spine, it can present similarly as pain and weakness of the shoulder and upper limb. Generally, cervical spinal pathology follows a nerve root dermatomal distribution, affecting even the hands and fingers. Pain, numbness and weakness generally occur together in Cervical Radiculopathy. Detailed examination and investigation are needed to differentiate whether shoulder pain is coming from the cervical spine or coming from the brachial plexus. The treatments of both conditions are vastly different. If brachial neuritis is left untreated, the weakness of the shoulder girdle may be permanently disabled.

Diagnosing Shoulder Girdle Syndrome

Here at Singapore Paincare, our team of experienced primary care physicians and pain care specialists together with an orthopedic surgeon will evaluate your condition. Additional tests are also carried out such as nerve conduction or electromyography, these tests help to identify the characteristic symptoms of Shoulder Girdle Syndrome to eliminate other forms of disease or injuries. An MRI or CT scan may also be needed to confirm the diagnosis. In selected cases, an evaluation of the cerebral spinal fluid via a lumbar puncture may be necessary to ascertain an immunological response.

What Treatments Are Available for Shoulder Girdle Syndrome?

Shoulder Girdle Syndrome requires interdisciplinary treatment methods to be resolved such as a team of orthopaedics, neurologists, and disease specialists. At Singapore Paincare, we strive to treat your pain with the least invasive option possible after accurately identifying the cause. Our approach to pain resolution focuses on the removal of pain generators via specialised injection and minimally invasive procedures. Combined with pharmacological treatments and cognitive and physical rehabilitative therapies – we help patients improve functions and prevent pain from recurring.

Non-surgical Treatments for Shoulder Girdle Syndrome

Physical Therapy
The therapy sessions by our specialists involve resistance training to reduce pain. It also consists of stretching exercises to increase the motion of the joint and minimize loss of muscle. However, the intensity and type of exercise may differ based on the conditions of the patient.
Nerve Block and Cortisone Injections
Our pain specialists use nerve blocks to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. This is often done in conjunction with the other treatment methods for effective outcomes.

We offer cortisone injections to decrease the inflammation in muscles and ligaments.

Electrotherapy Treatments
Applications of heat and cold and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) are offered by our doctors, these methods treat the pain by blocking the nerve transmission.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs may be prescribed to help minimize pain and swelling.

Surgical Treatments for Shoulder Gridle Syndrome

Only after other treatments have failed will surgery be considered. The surgery is not to remove the shoulder pain. It is more likely done to improve the weakness of the shoulder with either a nerve graft or tendon transfer. As surgery always comes with associated risks, complications, and downtime – it may not be suitable for everyone.

If you choose to have surgery, your options may include:

Nerve Graft
In this surgery, the surgeon takes a bit of nerve tissue from a different part of your body and uses it to repair damaged nerves.
Tendon Transfer
A healthy tendon is removed from another part of the body to replace the damaged tendon on your shoulder.

How Can I Prevent Shoulder Girdle Syndrome?

Shoulder girdle syndrome cannot be prevented. However, it is best to eat a nutritional diet and exercise regularly to maintain good health.

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