Shoulder pain caused exposure to air conditioning
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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Tender points are sensitive, irritated points in areas of muscle spasm.
They may radiate or refer pain to other areas. They can also cause muscle weakness and restricted range of motion.
Tender points, often referred to as trigger points, can result from a number of causes: direct trauma (such as a car accident); exposure to cold (such as the draft of an air-conditioner or an open window); and overload, caused by overuse of a muscle or chronic postural imbalances.
These factors can cause a muscle to contract. As the contraction continues, the muscle becomes fixed in involuntary spasm that can become the source of chronic nagging pain.
An active trigger point is one in which an individual can feel the pain on a continuous basis; a latent trigger point is an area of increased sensitivity in which one feels pain only when pressure is applied. Both types can cause referral of pain to other muscles.
There are certain common areas of the body that are more susceptible to the development of trigger points and pain because they are located at sites of greater biomechanical stress.
One common site for trigger points to develop is in the trapezius muscle of the shoulder blade and the neck. Poor posture can contribute to tightness in this area.
Trigger points in this area are often associated with pain in the back of the neck and around the eyes and ears, which is why patients experience a tension headache when their shoulders are sore. Treatment involves physical therapy, injection with local anesthetic, prolotherapy, and injections of Botox.
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