When shoulder pain becomes a problem, your range-of-motion, flexibility and quality of living are all negatively impacted. One of the most common complaints that physicians hear about is shoulder pain.1 At Quinby Orthopedics, we understand the complexities of the shoulder joint and what can cause problems in the juncture of these three bones. Let’s take a closer look at what could be causing your painful shoulder.
Why does my shoulder hurt so much?
There are three basic causes for shoulder pain.
- Osteoarthritis can be causing pain in the joint. With three bones coming together, there are opportunities for bone-on-bone wear when cartilage thins, erodes and no longer covers the end of the bone.
- Torn ligaments can be causing pain. A torn rotator cuff is one example of an area that can be easily damaged.
- Impingements are areas of pressure on tendons or the bursa sac that provides fluid to the joint.
What are the causes of shoulder problems?
Repetitive movement and overuse are often the reason for shoulder pain. Athletes who perform one movement over and over, such as throwing a ball or swinging a tennis racquet, can experience problems over time. Carpenters, drywall finishers and painters can also tax their shoulders to the point of experiencing chronic shoulder pain. These conditions are called tendonitis.
“If a bone is forced out of joint from a blow or accident, ligaments can be torn and impingements can occur,” said Quinby Orthopedics’ Medical Director, Dr. J. Scott Quinby. “Or, the bursa can fill with fluid and cause pressure on the joint. But most often, we see painful shoulder joints due to repetitive movement and just normal living, also known as tendonitis.”
Diagnosing shoulder pain
A thorough physical exam coupled with imaging tests can help us diagnose the cause of your shoulder pain. Imaging tests might include: Xray, MRI, ultrasound or CT scan.
“What you don’t want to do is let your joint pain go so long that it becomes stiff and immovable,” said Dr. Quinby. “A frozen shoulder takes longer to heal and is at risk for developing osteoarthritis. Before it gets that bad, come in to see me and we will run some tests to find the cause of your shoulder pain.”
Treatment options for a painful shoulder
Often, shoulder pain can be successfully treated at home with rest, ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (brand names Advil or Motrin) or naproxen (brand name Aleve).
Anti-inflammatory injections may be an option for treating some shoulder pain. Corticosteroid injections are sometimes used for patients who are not able to control their pain with rest, ice and NSAIDS.
Physical therapy may be prescribed to regain flexibility and strength in the shoulder joint.
Arthroscopy2, a minimally-invasive surgical procedure, can allow your orthopaedic surgeon to see inside the joint to make small repairs with miniature surgical instruments.
Arthroplasty3, is shoulder replacement surgery. The shoulder joint may be replaced when osteoarthritis is advanced or the shoulder is badly injured. Shoulder joint replacements are common, but are reserved for serious cases where the muscles, ligaments and tendons cannot otherwise be repaired. As with any surgery, shoulder replacement surgery comes with risks. These risks might include blood clots, uncontrolled bleeding, infection, nerve damage or the need for additional surgery.
Get an appointment with our orthopaedic specialist today!
If you’ve been experiencing shoulder pain that is not responding to rest, ice and NSAIDs at home, call us at Quinby Orthopedics today @ 469-929-0615 for an initial examination. Your orthopaedic specialist will examine you and create a treatment plan that’s right for you. Soon, you may be back to enjoying the things you like to do with no restrictions imposed by a hurting shoulder.
Visit us at one of our two convenient locations:
- Rockwall – Rockwall Medical Center, 810 E. Ralph Hall Pkwy, Suite 140
- Plano – Plano Medical Office Building III, 4001 W 15th St., Suite 180