What Is A Calcification On The Shoulder?

Calcification in the shoulder is a lesion that occurs due to the accumulation of calcium and the hardening of the tissues. Although it is sometimes asymptomatic, it often causes pain and movement difficulties.

Calcification in the shoulder is an injury that can occur for several reasons. However, in general it compromises the mobility of the joint with the presence of pain. Although calcium is an essential mineral for healthy bones and teeth, a build-up of it leads to health problems.

Therefore, it is important to know what can trigger a calcification and how to act on it before complications are generated. We will address this topic below, focusing on the shoulder joint. Keep reading!

Calcium in the body

Calcium is a chemical element that, in its natural state, appears as a soft, grayish metal. It is one of the most abundant minerals on the planet and also in the human body. Specifically, it helps keep bones and teeth strong; in addition, it intervenes in other functions.

Therefore, a deficiency can cause bone or dental health problems, such as osteoporosis, the presence of bacterial plaque, and so on. It also involves other parts of the body, such as the blood vessels, the nervous system, and the muscles.

Therefore, it  is important to consume foods rich in this mineral, such as dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt), green vegetables (spinach, watercress, broccoli, kale), eggs and fish.

Calcium as a macromineral.

What is a calcification?

Calcification occurs when calcium accumulates in excess and causes abnormal hardening of the tissues. Thus, in turn, it makes them stiff or stony. It is a condition that can occur in various parts of the body, such as the following:

  • Breasts.
  • Tendons
  • Arteries
  • Kidneys.
  • Lungs.
  • Brain.
  • Joints, such as the shoulder.

Why does calcification occur?

  • Genetic causes: in some people there is a natural tendency to have calcifications due to anatomical or organic problems.
  • Aging of the tissues: with age, the walls of the blood vessels thicken, where the exchange of oxygen occurs for the cells to function. When the blood supply decreases, calcium crystals begin to deposit.
  • Other diseases that affect metabolism: Paget’s disease, hypercalcemia, arteriosclerosis.
  • Tumors: both benign and malignant may present calcifications in the affected tissue.
  • Kidney function: when the kidney does not work well, calcium salts are not eliminated, which accumulate.
  • Microtrauma and overload: in the joints, excessive and continuous activity can cause small injuries; then, due to the reaction of the body itself that seeks to strengthen the tissues, they fibrosize and deposit calcium crystals.

Calcification on the shoulder

Calcification in the shoulder, also known as “calcifying tendonitis”, is a lesion that occurs between the supraspinatus tendon and the bursa of this joint, in the area known as the rotator cuff. Many times, this problem is asymptomatic and is discovered by chance.

However, there are those who experience pain in the area when making any type of palpation movement. Similarly, it can be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Muscular weakness.
  • Constant feeling of cramping.
  • Limitation in mobility.
  • Presence of a bulge in the area.
  • Visible deformity (in some cases).

The diagnosis of this condition is made through a medical examination, through a physical examination and tests such as X-ray or MRI. These allow us to appreciate the contrast between soft and calcified tissue, due to the difference in density between one and the other.

Calcification on the shoulder

Treatment of shoulder calcification

Treatment of calcification in the shoulder varies depending on its origin. That is, if the calcification is associated with another disease, the treatment should be aimed at that original disorder. On the other hand, depending on the stage of the disease, the therapeutic options can be conservative or invasive.

Conservative treatments

  • Ice application in the area.
  • Consumption of pain relievers and anti-inflammatories.
  • Rest and immobilization.
  • Stretching, strength and muscle tone exercises; of course, made by a professional.

Invasive treatment

  • Corticosteroids: when the pain persists or is intense, infiltrations are made in the affected area.
  • Arthroscopy: if the calcification prevents joint mobility and leads to functional limitation, surgery is considered as an option to break up the calcified tissue. It requires subsequent rehabilitation, for the recovery of mobility and functionality of the joint.

Other therapies

  • Electrotherapy.
  • Shock waves.
  • Iontophoresis.
  • To be.

Occasionally, the calcium deposit disappears without any treatment; however, this can be delayed. In this regard, it is estimated that the size of the calcification can act as a predictor, that is, the larger it is, the greater the pain, the more damage, and the recovery or improvement time.

Calcification in the shoulder requires an individualized approach

Whenever there is suspicion of a calcification in the shoulder, it is essential to see a doctor and receive a proper diagnosis. Although the application of ice and the consumption of painkillers help in all cases, they are not always enough to improve this condition.

It is essential that a professional determine an individualized treatment, based on the underlying cause of the calcification. In this way, complications will be avoided and the joint will recover its functionality in less time.

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