WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Calcific tendinitis is a condition that occurs when calcium collects in the tendons of the shoulder. Tendons are bands of tissue that connect muscle to bone. The calcium can make the tendons swell and can cause severe pain. Calcific tendinitis may last months or years. It usually goes away on its own as the calcium is absorbed by the body and the tendon heals.
- Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to decrease or take away pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) may help decrease pain and inflammation (swelling). You can buy this medicine without a doctor's order.
- Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are taking any vitamins, herbs, or other medicines. Keep a list of the medicines you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits.
You may be told to rest your shoulder. This may help decrease your pain. You may be told to place an item, such as a ball, between your side and elbow while you rest. This may help decrease stiffness.
Ice and heat:
Ice or heat packs on your shoulder may help decrease your pain and improve shoulder movement. Apply the ice or heat for 15 minutes at a time. Ask your primary health provider if you should use both, applying the ice first for 15 minutes and then the heat for 15 minutes. You can use ice in a bag covered with a towel. Do not apply ice directly to your skin. You can use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or a warm moist towel to apply heat. Make sure that what you use is not too hot.
You may need to see a physical therapist to help you with special exercises and stretches. This may help you regain movement and strength in your arm. Physical therapy can also help decrease pain.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- You have worse pain and stiffness in your shoulder.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have new or more trouble moving your arm.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.