FAQ’s on Shoulder Pain
Nearly 25% of Americans will experience some degree of shoulder pain during their life. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint, making it more easily prone to injury. With a susceptibility to arthritic damage and a large number of muscles and tendons that can be injured, there are many different causes of shoulder pain that our clinic is able to treat.
What are the causes of Shoulder Pain?
- Strains from overuse
- Damaged rotator cuff (accounts for nearly 67% of all shoulder pain cases)
- Clavicle or Arm fracture
- Pinched nerve
What are the symptoms of Shoulder Pain?
Some of the most frequent symptoms of shoulder pain include general sensations of pain in the shoulder, reduced mobility of the arm, swelling, tenderness, or discoloration of the skin. Patients with feelings of weakness in the arm or hand may be experiencing a more significant cause of pain and should consult one of our physicians immediately.
How is Shoulder Pain diagnosed?
Diagnosis is achieved through the use of X-rays (to view the bones) and a combination of MRI or CT scan to view the soft tissue (for nerve damage or inflammation).
What are the treatment options for Shoulder Pain?
As the shoulder is a soft tissue joint, the treatment will depend on the severity of the symptoms and on what the root cause of pain for a patient.
Mild to moderate symptoms
Mild to moderate symptoms may be treated solely with conservative methods:
Medication: Patients with mild symptoms can likely obtain relief with the use of medication, primarily in the form of over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Depending on the root source of pain however, stronger medications may be prescribed for pain relief such as in the case of injury or inflammation relating to arthritic damage.
Physical therapy: Shoulder pain may also be treated conservatively with physical therapy. During therapy sessions, a warm cold compress (or ice, whichever works best) will be used on the afflicted shoulder to help improve mobility and reduce swelling. Guided exercise during therapy sessions can help to strengthen the shoulder to reduce pain while restoring function to the joint.
Massage therapy for Rheumatoid arthritis: Patients with shoulder pain due to the destructive effects of arthritis can likely obtain relief with this form of massage therapy. By using moderate pressure during massage, patients were able to obtain a better degree of relief than during gentle massage (Rheumatoid arthritis in upper limbs benefits from moderate pressure massage therapy, 2013).
Moderate to severe symptoms
Patients who are not able to obtain relief with conservative methods may require surgery to correct their source of pain, with the exact treatment available based on the diagnosis.
Moderate to severe symptoms or certain types of causes may require surgical correction to obtain relief.
Large-tear torn rotator cuffs: Patients with pain due to a torn rotator cuff may be able to obtain relief with conservative treatment if the tear is small enough. If the tear worsens, or if pain returns following conservative treatment (indicative of an increased tears size), surgery is the best option for obtaining relief (Rotator cuff tear: physical examination and conservative treatment, 2013).
Damaged bursa sac: If the bursa sac is damaged, patients will experience pain coupled with a loss of movement. Some patients may experience shoulder joint impingement. A subacromial bursa injection using either corticosteroids or hyaluronidase can likely provide relief for patients and restore movement to the shoulder (Effects of subacromial bursa injection with corticosteroid and hyaluronidase according to dosage, 2013)
Impinged shoulder: Patients who have an impinged shoulder, whether due to injury or arthritic damage, may be able to obtain relief with peripheral nerve stimulation (Single-lead percutaneous peripheral nerve stimulation for the treatment of shoulder pain from subacromial impingement syndrome, 2012).