The shoulder, compromised of several joints that work together, provides us with a wide range of motion. Because we use our shoulders to perform a variety of different tasks throughout the day, it can be prone to injury and pain.
Treatment options for shoulder pain will vary depending on the severity of the injury or condition. Below, we have listed some of the most common causes of shoulder pain along with common treatment options. As with any condition or injury, it’s best to consult a doctor to receive a proper evaluation and treatment plan.
Common Causes of Shoulder Pain:
- Shoulder Impingement Syndrome:
Shoulder impingement syndrome is a collection of shoulder symptoms related to impingement, bursitis, and tendinitis in and around the shoulder joint. The most common symptom of shoulder impingement is pain, especially when one tries to use the affected arm above the level of the head (e.g., overhead activity, throwing).
Arthritis in the shoulder usually results in swelling, pain, and stiffness. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the shoulder. Pain due to osteoarthritis may worsen over time.
Instability occurs when the head of the upper arm bone is forced out of the shoulder socket. An injury or overuse usually causes instability in your shoulder. Sometimes instability, or a dislocation, can occur repeatedly which can increase the risk of arthritis developing in the shoulder.
A fracture, also known as a broken bone, often occurs as the result of a traumatic injury. Shoulder fractures in older patients can occur after a fall. Shoulder fractures are also common in high-energy contact sports.
Common Treatment Options for Shoulder Pain:
- Activity Modification:
Activity modification is suggested at the onset of symptoms when shoulder pain is mild. Rest and physical therapy may be recommended to improve pain. Your doctor may also prescribe medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids.
- Regenerative Medicine:
Regenerative Medicine procedures include injections like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy and stem cell therapy. These are available as an alternative to surgery. PRP therapy and stem cell therapy are powerful procedures that use your own body for healing.
Surgery may be required to resolve some severe injuries and conditions of the shoulder. The type of surgery needed is dependent on the condition or injury. Some surgical options include total shoulder surgery, reverse total shoulder surgery, shoulder arthroscopy, and open rotator cuff repair.