Like thousands of electric shocks: limescale leads to excruciating pain
Suddenly the shoulder hurts. The complaints describe the severity of those affected as "hellish". Then the cause could be limescale deposits in the shoulder joints. But the chances of a cure are good. Osteopathy, physiotherapy and pain medication can help.
Discomfort in the shoulder, such as shoulder stinging, is truly uncomfortable. But anyone who has ever had a limestone shoulder knows how to report truly unbearable pain. Even the smallest movements can hurt like hell. Those affected can be helped with medication and physiotherapy.
Complaints can last a very long time
Complaints in the shoulder can not only be very painful, but can also be very lengthy. For example, a “frozen shoulder” often heals on its own, but can also drag on for many years. Even with the so-called calcareous shoulder (also called tendinosis calcarea or tendinitis calcarea), the complaints can last for a very long time. The pain that can occur is often difficult to bear for those affected. However, they can be helped. A message from the dpa news agency reports on the disease, which often affects women in middle age.
Like a knife stab in the shoulder
One affected person, Sabine Hübsch, reports in the agency report about her experiences: When she is sitting in front of the television and wants to enjoy the end of her working day, she suddenly has the feeling that someone is stabbing her in the shoulder. Or as if she gets thousands of electric shocks with a stun gun. "Anyway, it felt like a combination of the two," she recalls. "It started with a slightly hammering, pulling pain. He grew stronger and stronger within a few minutes. ”It was not over, the pain returned again on the following days. "At shorter and shorter intervals until I couldn't stand it any longer." When Hübsch finally went to the orthopedic surgeon and had an X-ray, it turned out: the cause of the pain was a calcareous shoulder.
Pain with overhead movements
"With a limestone shoulder, it is not the shoulder joint itself that is affected, but limescale deposits in the surrounding shoulder tendons," explained Prof. Klaus Fritsch, specialist for orthopedics and trauma surgery from Bayreuth to dpa. The lime deposits are often located in the so-called rotator cuff. “The tendons of this muscle complex have only limited space between the shoulder roof and the humerus. The limescale deposits irritate and thicken the tendons so that it becomes even narrower in this room. ”Such and other shoulder pain often occurs at night. In addition, those affected complain of overhead movements such as hanging curtains or screwing in light bulbs, often with pain that radiates flat to the upper arm and often to the elbow. Pain when lifting the arm, which often radiates from the shoulder joint, can also have various other causes.
The cause of a limestone shoulder is largely unknown
A limescale shoulder usually occurs between the ages of 35 and 50. The causes are largely unknown. "Although it is suspected that a lack of blood flow and thus a lack of oxygen in the shoulder tendons lead to a conversion of cells, but we do not know for sure," said Prof. Ulrich Brunner from the German Association for Shoulder and Elbow Surgery in Würzburg. The diagnosis of calcareous shoulder is often a coincidence on X-rays. "Lime deposits in the shoulder tendons do not necessarily lead to complaints and do not require therapy in these cases," said Brunner. Even if there are complaints with a limestone shoulder, these often have little effect over a long period of time. "Suddenly, however, massive pain can occur that lasts up to two weeks," said Fritsch. In such cases, the lime dissolves on its own, breaking out of the tendon and penetrating into the adjacent bursa, causing inflammation of the bursa.
"If the pain is so acute, the therapy usually consists of anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or diclofenac," said Fritsch. "However, they should not be used for more than a week without a doctor, since they can affect the stomach lining, liver and kidney, blood pressure and cardiovascular system, for example." If such medications do not help, the treating doctor can also use highly effective cortisone in the bursa inject.
Lime shoulder usually remains a "unique experience"
In addition to medication, physiotherapy can be important for those affected. "Physiotherapy exercises can expand the space under the shoulder roof somewhat and thus reduce the pressure on the tendons, which are widened by the lime," explained Prof. Sven Ostermeier from the Gundelfingen joint clinic near Freiburg im Breisgau. Another possibility is physical applications, which should stimulate the blood flow to the shoulder tendons and the removal of the lime through the vessels. "For example, the physiotherapist places a massager on the shoulder and neck muscles that exerts mechanical vibrations on the deeper tissue." Those affected can also try shock wave therapy. The doctor directs high-energy ultrasound waves specifically to the affected shoulder. "With an abrupt increase in pressure, they break up the lime deposits and promote blood circulation, so that the lime residues from the surrounding tissue can be better broken down and excreted," says Ostermeier.
However, the treatment costs are not covered by many statutory health insurance companies. Surgery, shoulder arthroscopy, is also available. With the keyhole process, the limescale deposits can be removed, and possibly the irritated bursa. "This is usually the last option for stubborn cases when all other therapies have not brought the desired result," says Ostermeier. After such an operation, those affected should take care of their shoulders for about three weeks and then begin physiotherapy. "Once the limestone shoulder has healed, it usually does not come back and remains a one-off event for most of those affected." (Ad)