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Shoulder Pain: What Is A Slipped Biceps Tendon?

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slipped biceps tendon

Do you know that your should pain could be caused by a slipped biceps tendon? Assessing and correcting shoulder pain can represent a significant challenge to both the patient and the chiropractor, due to the shoulder being made up of a large number of pieces.

One such piece is the biceps muscle. This muscle attaches to the humerus bone via the tendons – there is tone in the elbow and two at the shoulder. One of the attachments at the shoulder is known as the long-head, which is a thin structure that runs through a groove at the front of the shoulder before entering the shoulder joint. The transverse ligament covers this groove and holds the biceps tendon in place.

The likelihood of the biceps tendon slipping out of this groove is increased if the transverse ligament becomes loose, injured or ruptured, which it commonly does. Usually, it will slide toward the chest and get lodged on the other side of the groove, where it causes pain and a multitude of functional problems.

Occasionally, the soft tissue restraints from the rotator cuff muscles that maintain the position of the long head of biceps tendon can become injured and allow the tendon to slip out of place.

A regular report from patients is that they just wake up with the pain, having been sleeping on that side and further rolling the shoulder joint inwards, applying pressure to the tendon in the direction of weakness. One of the giveaway signs of a slipped biceps tendon is not being able to lie on the affected side at night without aggravating the pain.

Sometimes the long head of biceps tendon does not fully slip out of the groove, but the weakness of the external rotators allows the humeral head to turn inward and the tendon pushes against an injured or ruptured transverse ligament, which is painful.

Symptoms of a Slipped Biceps Tendon
• A clunk when turning the arm inward or outward.
• Pain in the front of the shoulder.
• Pain can refer down into the biceps muscle.
• Symptoms associated with rupture or injury of the subscapularis tendon, including pain in the front of the shoulder and pain with internal rotation (placing the hand behind the back).
• A catching pain in the front of the shoulder as the arm is raised or lowered through a certain section of its range of motion. Usually at around 80-90 degree of abduction (side raising).

There are several exam findings suggestive of a problem with the biceps tendon, whether that is tendonitis, rupture, or slipping. The most common findings are a pain in the front of the shoulder, tenderness to pressure along the tendonous groove and pain and weakness when the shoulder is tested into internal rotation.

How Is A Slipped Biceps Tendon Treated?
The treatment will depend upon the severity of the problem. Often chiropractic and lifestyle modifications are enough to allow it to heal.

Rest, ice and natural anti-inflammatory strategies are also advised.

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