Have you been popping pain killers for that lingering, dull shoulder pain? WHile you might have dismissed it off owing to having worked out a bit too much or lifting something heavy at home, scientists say it could be bad news for your heart health . A new study has identified that shoulder joint pain is linked to an increased risk of heart conditions and not merely a physical strain.

If a person has rotator cuff problems, it is a clear sign of an impending heart problems and one must identify and manage  the underlying  cardiovascular disease risk factors , says lead author of the study Prof Kurt Heggman , University of Utah School of Medicine.

Shoulder problems are often associated when the joint is overused. Like in javelin throwers or baseball pitchers who use the same repetitive motion, the movement can lead to excessive wear and tear of the shoulder joint. Though physical strain plays an important role in the optimum health of the joint, there are other factors that also need to be considered. Along with an increased risk of heart conditions, people are also at an higher risk of developing tennis elbow,  Carpal tunnel syndrome and Achilles tendinitis.

For this study, scientists examined data records from 1226 skilled laborers who were comprised of cabinet makers, airbag manufacturers, meat and processor and other skilled workers. Each were assigned a strain index for every push, pull and twist.

heart-disease It was found that the higher the heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, the greater the chances that they have had shoulder joint pain.  They are also at an increased risk to develop a secondary shoulder condition like rotator cuff tendinopathy.

The findings published in Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine also showed that persons with a mid level risk of heart disease were less likely to develop shoulder joint problems.

One assumes that it is high impact of the use of the shoulder joint that worsens rotator cuff problems, but that is not the primary reason. Cardiovascular risk factors play a larger role than their job profiles. It is possible that alleviating the factors of  heart disease can help reduce shoulder pain. And while the relationship between heart disease and shoulder pain could be true, further cause and effect studies are needed to follow up.

Speak to our in house othopaedic or cardiology expert on Visitapp to know more about your shoulder pain.

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Consultant Physician and Diabetologist, MBBS, PDDM, MHA, 5+ years experience

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