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Shoulder Pain? Long Head of Biceps Tendinopathy May Be the Culprit



The long head of the Biceps Brachii is a muscle located in the upper arm. Tendinopathy refers to a condition involving damage, irritation, or inflammation of a tendon. Biceps tendinopathy, specifically involving the long head of the biceps, is a common issue that can result from overuse, aging, or injury. Here's a breakdown of the condition:


Anatomy:

  1. Long Head of Biceps:

  • Originates from the supraglenoid tubercle of the scapula (shoulder blade).

  • Travels down the front of the upper arm and crosses the shoulder joint.

  • Inserts into the top of the radius bone in the forearm.

Causes of Tendinopathy:

  1. Overuse or Repetitive Movements:

  • Frequent overhead activities, such as weightlifting, throwing, or certain sports, can strain the biceps tendon.

  1. Aging:

  • Wear and tear on the tendon can occur naturally over time.

  1. Impingement:

  • Compression of the tendon between the Humerus and surrounding structures can lead to irritation.

  1. Trauma or Injury:

  • A sudden injury or trauma, like a fall or direct impact to the shoulder, can damage the tendon.

Symptoms:

  1. Pain:

  • Typically felt in the front of the shoulder.

  • Can radiate down the upper arm.

  1. Weakness:

  • Decreased strength, especially during activities involving the affected arm.

  1. Tenderness:

  • The area around the biceps tendon may be tender to touch.

  1. Clicking or Snapping Sensation:

  • Some individuals may experience a clicking or snapping sound during shoulder movement.

Diagnosis:

  1. Physical Examination:

  • The therapist assesses range of motion, strength, and tenderness in the affected area.

  1. Imaging:

  • X-rays, ultrasound, or MRI may be used to visualise the condition of the tendon and surrounding structures.

Treatment Options:

  1. Rest and Activity Modification:

  • Avoid activities that worsen symptoms.

  • Modify movements to reduce strain on the tendon.

  1. Physical Therapy:

  • Strengthening exercises to improve muscle balance and flexibility.

  • Techniques to improve posture and biomechanics.

  1. Medications:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help manage pain and inflammation.

  1. Corticosteroid Injections:

  • In some cases, a healthcare provider may recommend injecting corticosteroids into the affected area to reduce inflammation.

Prevention:

  1. Proper Technique:

  • Ensure proper form during activities that involve the shoulder.

  1. Gradual Progression:

  • Avoid overloading the shoulder with sudden increases in activity.

  1. Warm-up and Stretching:

  • Adequate warm-up and stretching before physical activities can help prevent injuries.

It's important to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and personalised treatment plan based on the specific circumstances of the individual.

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