Shoulder pain can appear suddenly as a result of an injury or sort of sneak up on you over time. In either case, a sore shoulder can certainly limit your activities. While surgery may be required in some cases, there are also plenty of conservative therapies for shoulder pain as well. Here’s some basic information about shoulder pain and treatment from Sea Spine Orthopedic, a group of Orthopedic Surgeons in Jacksonville FL.
Many people probably never give the structure of the shoulder a second thought, but this complex joint consists of three important bones: the humerus (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collarbone). Connected by ligaments, muscles and tendons, which support the joint and allow it to function properly, the shoulder has a lot of moving parts to go wrong. A number of nerves are also involved in shoulder function and they can become damaged or irritated. A fluid-filled sac called the bursa – which cushions the joint – can become inflamed, causing shoulder bursitis.
Sources of Shoulder Pain
Shoulder pain typically results from either an acute injury or overuse. Traumatic injuries include shoulder dislocations, fractures or soft tissue injury. Overuse is pretty much what it sounds like – doing too much of one thing repeatedly. Think of a baseball pitcher who spends hours a day throwing; that’s a lot of stress on the shoulder joint. We find that once an overuse injury occurs, many people deal with it by limiting the movement of the shoulder, which can cause tissue adhesion and even more limited movement, as well as pain.
Although we are orthopedic surgeons, we know that conservative treatment is nearly always preferred as a first step. When you come to us for an assessment, we’ll discuss possible treatments like physical therapy, exercises, joint injections, and medications. If the condition warrants it, however, we will recommend surgery. For example, a rotator cuff tear (the rotator cuff includes muscles and tendons that connect the humerus and scapula) is quite common, especially in older people. If the tear is the result of an acute injury, surgery is often the best choice.
No matter what the source of your shoulder pain, we will almost always recommend physical therapy (PT). PT can help strengthen weak muscles that make a shoulder injury more likely. Flexibility is key for proper shoulder function, and PT can help in that respect as well. With overuse injuries, the physical therapist can assess your daily activities to identify what you’re doing that stresses the shoulder and recommend ways to change your movements or activities to decrease the wear and tear on the joint. We can also recommend various pain management strategies if surgery is not an option or if you prefer conservative therapy.
If shoulder pain is interfering with your life, please contact Sea Spine Orthopedic, for an appointment with one of the top Orthopedic Surgeons in Jacksonville FL or at one of our other locations. We can assess your situation and make recommendations to resolve your shoulder issues. We offer a full range of orthopedic services that can help you get your life back.