If you are suffering from shoulder pain caused by osteoarthritis or injury, it is possible to restore your mobility and quality of life. Learn more about shoulder pain and some of the shoulder treatment options available at Arkansas Surgical Hospital.
The Parts of Your Shoulder
Your shoulder joint has three bones: the scapula (shoulder blade), the clavicle (collarbone), and the humerus (upper arm bone). Your shoulder also contains muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage that provide strength, stability, and flexibility. Damage to these parts of your shoulder can lead to persistent pain and stiffness.
Common Causes of Shoulder Pain
Most shoulder problems fall into four major categories: tendon inflammation (including rotator cuff tears), instability, arthritis, or fractures.
Tendon Inflammation & Rotator Cuff Tears
Tendon inflammation commonly occurs due to bursitis, tendinitis, or shoulder impingement.
- Bursitis: The bursa, a small fluid-filled sac located above the shoulder joint, acts as a cushion between the bones and the overlying soft tissue. This helps reduce friction as you move your shoulder. Sometimes, injury or excessive use of your shoulder can lead to swelling of the bursae between the rotator cuff and the acromion (part of the shoulder blade). This results in a condition known as bursitis.
- Tendinitis: Bursitis commonly occurs in association with tendinitis. Tendinitis is a result of inflammation in the rotator cuff tendons and may be acute or chronic in nature.
- Acute injuries of the shoulder can be caused by excessive throwing or other repetitive overhead activities.
- Chronic injuries of the shoulder occur over time and are degenerative in nature.
- Impingement: Shoulder impingement occurs when you lift your arm over your head or away from your body and the acromion impinges on the bursa and the rotator cuff tendons beneath.
Rotator cuff tears may develop from acute injury or degenerative changes in the shoulder due to advancing age, long-term overuse, wear and tear, or sudden injury.
Shoulder instability occurs when the ball or head of the proximal humerus is forced out of the shoulder socket. This may be partial (subluxation) or complete (dislocation) and may be caused by acute trauma or degenerative processes. Some people are even born with general laxity in their shoulders and other joints. Damage to the ligaments, tendons, and muscles around the shoulder may lead to recurring dislocations and even arthritis.
Arthritis is a common term used to refer to inflammation in a joint. There are many types of arthritis, but the most common type of arthritis in the shoulder is osteoarthritis (also known as “wear and tear” arthritis). Other types of arthritis may be related to rotator cuff tears, inflammation, or history of trauma.
Osteoarthritis develops slowly over time and results from cartilage being worn down to bone, causing increased friction and inflammation in the shoulder. Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the shoulder include stiffness, swelling, pain, limited motion, and weakness.
Fractures occur when bones around the shoulder are broken. In older patients, this usually results from a fall. In younger patients, it is usually the result of high-energy trauma such as a motor vehicle accident or a sports injury. Fractures result in severe pain, swelling, and bruising around the shoulder.
Diagnosing Shoulder Pain
Consult an orthopedic surgeon for diagnosis of your shoulder problems. An orthopedic surgeon will evaluate your medical history and your daily activities. He or she will also physically examine you, which may include x-rays, ultrasounds, or an MRI.
Your surgeon will also ask you to describe your shoulder pain. If the pain travels down your arm to your elbow or fingertips, for example, it may indicate that a disease is responsible for your discomfort. Diseases that can cause shoulder pain include disorders of the spine, liver disease, heart disease, and diabetes.
The large majority of patients with shoulder pain will respond to simple, non-surgical treatment methods. However, depending on your injury or condition, you may require shoulder surgery.
Examples of non-surgical treatments for shoulder pain include NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), physical therapy, and steroid injections. Once non-surgical options have failed and your activities remain painful or limited, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend shoulder surgery.
Surgery may be performed with a shoulder scope for conditions such as impingement, rotator cuff tears, or instability. In the case of arthritis, you may require shoulder replacement. Shoulder replacement surgery has excellent success rates, and new surgical techniques have made it even more effective at eliminating your shoulder pain, improving your mobility, and restoring your quality of life.
Recovery from Shoulder Surgery
Full recovery from shoulder surgery is a long process. Your specific recovery protocol will vary depending on your orthopedic surgeon, but here is a general outline of what to expect:
- While you are recovering in the hospital from your shoulder surgery, you will be given IV antibiotics to prevent infection and medications to relieve your pain.
- For the first two weeks you are home, you will need to be assisted 24 hours a day by a family member, friend, or other caregiver.
- Physical therapy will usually start around week four and will focus on improving your shoulder’s range of motion. Then, once your tissues have had time to heal, you will advance to strengthening exercises.
- You will be confined to a sling for about the first six weeks after surgery.
- Your mobility should continue to improve over the first three to six months after surgery.
Living with Shoulder Pain
There are many treatment options for shoulder pain. To learn more about different solutions, contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital at (877) 918-7020 for help making an appointment with one of our specialists.
If you are suffering from severe shoulder pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis or injury, your doctor may recommend total shoulder replacement. This procedure can relieve your pain and restore your mobility.
We see this injury quite often among our patients—here are the basic facts.
If you experience shoulder pain, it is a good idea to see your doctor right away. What you might think is just a strain may actually be a torn rotator cuff. Without proper treatment, this condition can get worse and you may require rotator cuff repair surgery. Most rotator cuff injuries are caused by the natural degenerative process that comes as the result of aging.
Several bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments form your shoulder joint. Damage to any of these parts of your shoulder joint can severely limit your mobility.
An injury, deterioration, or trauma that affects the bones, muscles, and other parts of your shoulder joint can lead to persistent pain and stiffness. If you have sore shoulder muscles or other acute shoulder pains, becoming familiar with the parts of this joint can provide you with some insight into your condition. When you know what the underlying cause is, you can look into options for shoulder pain treatment.
One of the most common causes of pain in your shoulder or arm that makes it difficult to move or lift are rotator cuff injuries.
The group of tendons and muscles in your rotator cuff help provide stability and allow your shoulder to rotate. Injuries to these tendons and muscles can result in pain that is severe enough to prevent you from raising your arm or moving your shoulder, limiting your normal daily activities. There are several types of rotator cuff injuries that can cause varying degrees of pain.
According to the World Health Organization, 9% of all adults in the U.S. reported struggling with chronic shoulder pain.*
The shoulder is a complex joint held in place by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Pain in your shoulder can lessen mobility and strength, which can hinder your day-to-day activities. There are several causes of shoulder pain, and each has its own treatment options. Use this list of fast shoulder pain facts to help you discover what is causing your shoulder pain and how to treat it.
Knowing what to expect and making preparations beforehand can help your shoulder surgery recovery proceed smoothly.
After total shoulder replacement surgery, you are required to wear a sling for up to four weeks. You will likely be able to come out of the sling during physical therapy after two weeks. Most patients return to normal mobility after a month. However, many overlook the lifestyle changes they should make before entering the operation room. You need to make certain safety modifications to your home and routine to prepare for your recovery and rehabilitation.