Shoulder Pain

Contact the team at Advanced Regenerative Orthopedics today to find out if AROmotion is right for you!

About Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain, which is not a condition, but rather a symptom, refers to pain located anywhere in or around the shoulder. Shoulder pain can come from the shoulder joint or any of the ligaments, muscles, and tendons surrounding the joint. In some cases, shoulder pains are actually referred pain stemming from an issue with a nearby organ, such as the heart or gallbladder.

Symptoms

Shoulder pain can vary depending on the cause. Pain can be dull or sharp, and range from mild to severe. Shoulder pain may be accompanied by swelling, stiffness, limited range of motion, numbness or tingling, and weakness in the shoulder or arm. Referred pain from another part of the body felt in the shoulder may also be accompanied by chest pain, nausea or vomiting, pain under the rib cage, or back pain.

Why do I have shoulder pain?

There are several possible causes of shoulder pain. The following are the most common:

  • Tendinitis

    Acute or chronic tendinitis happens when the tendon connecting to the shoulder wears down, either due to repetitive wear and tear from aging or certain activities or because of a degenerative disease, such as arthritis.

  • Bursitis

    This painful condition occurs when the bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, muscles and tendons in the joints, become inflamed. This can happen as a result of overuse and is often happens in conjunction with tendinitis.

  • Tendon tears

    Degenerative changes from aging or overuse and injuries can cause the tendons in the shoulder to partially or completely split or tear.

  • Instability or dislocation

    Shoulder instability occurs when the muscles and ligaments that hold the ball and socket joint of the shoulder stretch or get injured, causing the shoulder to become unstable or dislocate. The most common cause is injury resulting from a fall or accident, but it can also happen from repetitive physical activities or even a genetic predisposition.

  • Impingement

    This is also known as shoulder impingement syndrome. Impingement occurs when the rotator cuff tendon, which runs through a narrow passage, called the subacromial space, becomes trapped or “impinged”, causing it to scrape against the bone with movement.

  • Fractures

    Shoulder fractures most often involved the collarbone (clavicle), scapulae (shoulder blade) and the upper arm bone (humerus) and are usually the result of trauma from an accident, sports injury, or a fall.

  • Arthritis

    Different types of arthritis can cause shoulder pain, though it is most often osteoarthritis that affects the shoulder. Arthritis can result from wear and tear throughout our lives, shoulder injuries, or inflammation depending on the type.

Risks

Due to the many possible causes, anyone is at risk for shoulder pain. The following factors increase the risk of shoulder pain:

  • Aging, because of degenerative changes and increased risk of other diseases as we age
  • Participating in contact sports
  • Occupations involving repetitive motion or pressure on the shoulder
  • Sports, such as baseball, gymnastics, and tennis
  • Medical conditions, such as arthritis

Diagnosis

In order to diagnose the cause of your shoulder pain symptoms, the doctor will first conduct a thorough examination, which will include your medical history and a physical examination. You will be asked to describe your pain and how long you’ve had it. You may also be asked what activities cause or worsen the pain, as well as which, if any, shoulder pain relief treatments you have tried. A physical examination will allow the doctor to check for any abnormalities, such as swelling, redness, bruising, or muscle weakness. The doctor may also manipulate your arm to check your range of motion.

One or more of the following tests may be ordered to help confirm a diagnosis of your shoulder pain:

  • X-ray

    X-rays are often the first imaging test used in patients presenting with shoulder pain to look for fractures, bone spurs and other bone abnormalities. X-rays are not able to show most issues with the tendons, cartilage or muscles.

  • Ultrasound

    Ultrasounds use high-frequency sound waves to produce real-time images of the muscles, tendons and other tissues using a transducer on the shoulder.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

    MRI is considered the imaging test of choice for diagnosing shoulder issues. An MRI uses radio waves and a magnetic field to produce detailed images. Sometimes a special dye is given either through intravenous or injected directly into the shoulder to enhance certain details.

  • Computed tomography scan (CT scan)

    This type of scan uses a series of X-rays taken from different angles to create cross-sectional images that show bones, soft tissues and blood vessels in detail.

  • Arthrogram

    This type of imaging test may be used to look at the joint structure. A long, thin needle is used to inject a special dye directly into the joint and a series of x-rays are taken with your shoulder joint in different positions. Arthrography can be used to diagnose most shoulder injuries and conditions.

  • Arthroscopy

    In some cases, arthroscopy may be recommended to help diagnose the cause of shoulder pain that couldn’t be identified using other tests. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which a fiber-optic camera at the end of a thin tube is inserted into the shoulder joint through a small incision. This allows the doctor to visualize the inside of the joint. This procedure may also be used to repair any damage found.

Treatment

There are various options available to treat shoulder pain. Treatment will depend on the specific cause of your shoulder pain symptoms, and the least invasive options are always tried first.

AROmotion is a cutting-edge solution for pain caused by joint injuries and degenerative disorders. Our unique, minimally invasive treatment procedures are needle-based, meaning that there is no incision and no surgical recovery period. AROmotion preserves your natural shoulder joint, promotes natural healing, and restores your mobility faster than other treatments!

Other treatment options include:

  • Altering your activity

    This can include resting your shoulder and avoiding activities that aggravate your symptoms in order to try to prevent pain.

  • Medication

    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other pain relievers may be prescribed to help relieve pain and inflammation.

  • Physical therapy

    Special conditioning exercises may be recommended to help you regain strength and flexibility, and regain your range of motion after shoulder injuries to help you return to your regular activities.

  • Occupational therapy

    If your shoulder problem was caused by your job, you may be referred to an occupational therapist who will evaluate your work environment and duties and help you make modifications to help you continue with your daily activities safely.

  • Injectable treatments

    Corticosteroid injections, which are a combination of cortisone and numbing agent, are injected into the shoulder joint to provide quick relief of shoulder pain.

  • Radiofrequency ablation

    Also known as denervation, this is a method of temporarily turning off or blocking the nerves from sending pain signals while other therapies have time to take effect.

  • PRP injections

    PRP, or platelet-rich plasma therapy, injects proteins called growth factors, which help support healing in injured areas.

  • Stem cell injections

    Physician directed stem cell therapy uses very powerful young cells to stimulate the patient’s own native repair mechanisms to regenerate new cartilage.

  • Surgery

    According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 90 percent of patients who experience shoulder pain find relief using nonsurgical treatments. Surgery may be recommended for those who’ve failed to get sufficient relief from other treatment options, or for those with extensive damage or advanced osteoarthritis. Surgical options include arthroscopic surgery or traditional open surgery, such as shoulder replacement.

If severe shoulder pain is preventing you from moving freely and enjoying your life, contact the skilled team at Advanced Regenerative Orthopedics to find out how we can help you get back to a pain-free existence!