What are the causes of shoulder pain?
Traumas like sports injuries, trips and falls, and auto accidents can cause acute shoulder pain. The joint might dislocate, where the ball at the top of your arm bone (humeral head) comes away from the socket (glenoid) in your shoulder blade. You could also tear the labrum, a ring of cartilage that keeps the humeral head in its socket, or fracture one or more bones.
Rotator cuff injuries are a common cause of acute shoulder pain. They can occur on their own or at the same time as a dislocation — straining or tearing the muscles and tendons that hold your shoulder joint together. Overuse injuries cause microtears in the shoulder tissues that lead to problems like tendinitis.
Degenerative conditions cause prolonged shoulder pain. Osteoarthritis is the chief problem, resulting from years of wear-and-tear that destroys the protective articular cartilage covering your bones. You could also get problems like shoulder instability and rotator cuff arthropathy from repeated dislocations and rotator cuff tears.
What treatments can help with shoulder pain?
A severe injury like a fracture or dislocation requires urgent treatment to get the joint back in place and fix any breaks in the bones. Less dramatic injuries and chronic conditions like arthritis usually benefit from a more conservative approach, which could include:
- Pain relief medication
- Muscle relaxants
- Activity modification
- Physical therapy
- Corticosteroid injections
- Trigger point injections
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy
- Stem cell injections
- Nerve blocks
You might need to wear a sling or brace to immobilize your shoulder while it heals.
These treatments are often sufficient to resolve shoulder pain or manage it effectively when you have an incurable condition like arthritis. However, some patients find they aren’t benefitting, or conservative measures are no longer working for them. In these cases, the Vital Orthopedic & Spine Institute team might recommend surgery.
What type of surgery might I need for shoulder pain?
If you have an injury like a rotator cuff tear, your Vital Orthopedic & Spine Institute surgeon might perform minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage.
If you have a condition like advanced osteoarthritis and the joint isn’t repairable, you might need shoulder replacement surgery. The Vital Orthopedic & Spine Institute team removes the damaged bones and replaces them with artificial parts. If your problem is shoulder instability, they might do a reverse shoulder replacement to help stabilize the joint.
To find out why you have shoulder pain and get relief from your discomfort, call Vital Orthopedic & Spine Institute or book an appointment online today.