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Shoulder Sprain

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Shoulder Sprain

Shoulder Sprain 

A shoulder sprain refers to an injury to the shoulder resulting in over-stretching or a tear of the shoulder ligaments – the tough bands of fibrous tissue lining the shoulder joint or connecting the bones. This fibrous tissue connects the four bones that are important to the shoulder’s function– the scapula, acromion, clavicle, and humerus.

What Causes Shoulder Sprain?

A shoulder sprain usually happens when the ligaments are overstretched because of direct trauma to the shoulder such as falling into an outstretched arm. Some forms of exercise may also result in a sprain such as dips or weightlifting.
Some possible risk factors for a shoulder sprain are as follows:
• Sports involving the shoulder
• Long period of inactivity
• Fatigue from over-activity
• Improper warm-up

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Symptoms of Shoulder Sprain

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You may feel pain when pressing on the area of injury or with movement. Depending on the severity of the sprain the pain may vary. It is painful lying on the dependent shoulder during sleep at night.

Swelling and Tenderness

The injured area will be very tender, there may also be bruising or changes in skin colour, if it is caused by sudden trauma or high impact such as in a car accident or falls on the affected shoulder, the swelling will develop rapidly, this may require further treatment if it is severe. In many other cases, the injured shoulder does not have any signs of bruising or swelling.

Instability in the shoulder joint

Some instances of severe shoulder sprain will also cause instability in the shoulder joints.


A Message About Shoulder Sprain

Shoulder pain may start innocuously without any significant obvious trauma. Minor injuries may occur even with stretching of the shoulder such as reaching out to insert a cash card into a car-park reader, reaching over the car seat to the back of the car for things, or reaching for objects overhead on the top shelf. Once a shoulder sprain occurs, it may escalate into the complicated protracted recovery of the shoulder such as Frozen Shoulder. Shoulder pain that lasts more than 1 month needs medical attention. The intensity of the pain does not correlate with the severity of the injury.

Diagnosing Shoulder Sprain

Here at Singapore Paincare, our team of experienced primary care physicians and pain care specialists together with an orthopedic surgeon will evaluate your condition. This includes a physical exam, questions about your symptoms, and an evaluation of your medical history. These sprains are usually categorized from Grade 1 to 3, with 3 being the most serious. An MRI may be needed to determine the severity and location of the strain or sprain.

What Treatments Are Available for Shoulder Sprain?

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 physical rehabilitative therapies – we help patients improve functions and prevent pain from recurring.


Non-surgical Treatments for Shoulder Sprain


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Myofree Treatment: Nerve Blocks and Cortisone Injections

Our proprietary Nerve blocks are done by our pain specialists to stop the pain and allow for the inflammation to subside. This is often done in conjunction with the other treatment methods for effective outcomes.

Our proprietary Cortisone injections done at certain roadmaps over the muscles and ligaments by our specialists will decrease the inflammation, allowing the healing of the injured structure.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

PRP therapy involves centrifuging the patient’s blood to increase its concentration of platelets and then injecting it back into the area to be treated.  PRP improves the healing of tendons, ligaments, and muscles by increasing blood flow into the injured area and causing proliferation of fibrous tissues, causing increased repair and regeneration.   

Oral Medications

Our doctors may prescribe NSAIDs and/or muscle relaxants in conjunction with another treatment to provide another layer of relief.

Surgical Treatments for Shoulder Sprain

Shoulder Sprains are usually not treated with non-surgical methods and have four to six weeks of recovery time. However, if the pain does not respond to the above treatment methods surgery may be an option, especially if the tear of the tendon is complete and impacts the patient in the course of the patient’s work which requires certain shoulder movement, such as professional baseball, badminton or tennis player.

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

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Arthroscopic Surgery

In severe cases, arthroscopic surgery is carried out. The process involves using a small camera and instruments to insert into the affected area to cut through the tight portions of the joint capsule.


How Can I Prevent Shoulder Sprain?

Accidents can happen at any time and it’s possible to suffer a shoulder sprain despite taking all the right precautions. Here are a few tips for preventing shoulder sprain:

• Doing a proper warm-up and stretching before any exercise or sports
• Once you know you are overall stiff in your shoulders, do consult a doctor regarding what type of exercises are suitable for you.
• Go slow if you have generally a sedentary lifestyle. Pace your activities and exercise level gradually. Be careful of being a weekend warrior – excessive over-activities in 1 day out of the entire week. It can precipitate an injury in a generally low-impact exercise.
• Rest and ice your shoulder if it is sore. Taking simple analgesia such as paracetamol can be a first-aid remedy.
• Seek medical treatment if shoulder pain persists for more than 1 month, affecting function (lifting of the shoulder) or pain when sleeping on the dependent shoulder.

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