Depending on the cause of your pain, both treatments could be necessary.
You reach overhead for something, and pain shoots through your shoulder. Or maybe even when your sitting still, you feel an ache. What we call the shoulder is made up of three bones and many tendons and muscles, and problems with any of them can lead to shoulder pain.
In 90 percent of shoulder injuries, patients respond to non-surgical treatments. Other times, surgery is necessary. Here’s a look at some common shoulder problems and how they’re treated.
Arthritis in the shoulder is commonly treated with one or more of these:
- Changes in physical activity to reduce pain
- Physical therapy exercise
- Injections of corticosteroids
- Application of ice and/or moist heat
- For rheumatoid arthritis, prescription medication
In some cases, doctors perform arthroscopic surgery to clean out the joint. In extreme cases, a doctor might recommend a shoulder joint replacement.
Inflammation and Tears
In the shoulder, tendons and sacs of fluid called bursas can become inflamed. Shoulder tendonitis and bursitis are usually treated the same way as arthritis.
The muscles and tendons around the shoulder form the rotator cuff. When a tear occurs in the cuff, half of patients use the non-surgical treatments described above to reduce pain. Surgery is most often recommended if:
- The tear is a result of an acute injury
- The tear increases in size
- Pain lasts more than six months
- There is major loss of use of the shoulder
With a one-time dislocation, a doctor pops the upper arm bone back into the shoulder joint. Afterward, physical therapy helps reduce risk of recurrence. But if dislocations become frequent, surgery is often recommended.
Surgery, including the insertion of pins or plates, can be an option, depending on the type of break. In some cases, simply wearing a sling is enough to let the bone heal. In either case, exercises to strengthen muscles are the norm.
Whatever is causing your shoulder paint, the Orthopedic Surgery Center at North Hills Hospital is ready to help. Our staff includes surgeons, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Give us a call at (855)-5NHILLS for a physician referral.