Shoulder injuries can be quite common, most frequently in the athletic community. And though it is very common amongst athletes, shoulder injuries can happen during your daily routine. A lot of people have to deal with shoulder pain on a daily basis. Shoulder pain can be an easy thing to brush off or procrastinate seeing a doctor about. So long should I wait to see a doctor for shoulder pain?
Most shoulder pain and injuries stem from damaged muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These injuries can slowly build up and grow worse when ignoring the various red flags that there is an issue. If you have experienced an injury during or after an accident, this is what the Mayo Clinic recommends:
- See a doctor immediately: shoulder pain paired with tightness of the chest and labored breathing is a sign of heart attack. If this is occurring you require immediate medical attention. If your joint appears to be swelling, deformed, or unable to use them you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Schedule a doctor’s appointment: You will want to schedule a doctor’s appointment when you begin to notice redness, warmth, swelling, or tenderness around your shoulder. If these symptoms are paired with any level of pain, it is crucial to see your doctor as soon as possible.
- Rest: if the pain you are dealing with in your shoulder is mild and there are no other symptoms, you can take over-the-counter pain relief medications. You will also want to rest the shoulder instead of pushing through the pain, and ice it to relieve the tension.
There are two categories that orthopedic surgeons will organize shoulder pain and injuries into. These categories are traumatic and overused. The shoulder has more mobility than all other joints in your body, which as a result causes more injuries than any other joint in the body. Shoulder pain can typically be resolved with non-invasive treatments. However if these treatments do not yield the necessary results, then surgical intervention may be a possibility.
Possible Causes of Shoulder Pain
There are numerous possibilities when it comes to what might be causing your shoulder pain. Below we are going to explore these possible causes.
Tendinitis in the shoulder is usually a result of repetitive motion. It is very frequent amongst athletes, and specifically amongst those who are not using proper form. This puts unnecessary stress on the tendons and tissue in the shoulder.
Rest and ice are typically the beginning stages when treating tendinitis in the shoulder. This reduces the swelling as well as pain, and brings general relief. Physical therapy can reduce the symptoms and assist you in regaining mobility in the joint. Surgery is not normally needed unless the tendon has been torn.
Bursitis in the shoulder happens when the bursae, which are small fluid-filled sacs that protect the bones, tendons, and muscles, begin to get inflamed. Bursitis is quite common in the shoulder because of the repetitive motion within the joint.
This condition can create swelling, stiffness, and general aching in the shoulder. Bursitis will normally begin to fade as you rest and take self-care to limit the mobility of the joint. If your pain continues, we recommend seeing your doctor for further treatment.
Rotator Cuff Tear
Tears in the rotator cuff are pretty common amongst those who are middle-aged or partake in overhead motions for their job. These tears can happen over time or from a sudden injury. Most have given a description of their pain as a dull ache that can get worse if slept on the injured shoulder. This kind of tear can weaken your arm and make activities like brushing your hair very difficult.
If you suspect that you have a torn rotator cuff, we recommend going to an orthopedic doctor to seek treatment immediately. There are many kinds of treatments, but it is easier to carry out these treatments when the injury has an early diagnosis.
Frozen shoulder is a condition that slowly progresses over time, resulting in stiffness and pain within the joint. There are three primary stages of frozen shoulders.
- Freezing – you begin to feel pain when moving the shoulder. As a result, your range of motion is limited.
- Frozen – the joint stiffens and begins to hurt when in use.
- Thawing – your shoulder begins to normalize.
Those who are more at risk of frozen shoulder have experienced a medical procedure or certain occasion that limited movement in the arm. This condition is also frequently seen in those over the age of 40, specifically in women more than men.
Frozen shoulder will typically resolve itself within 12 to 18 months, however physical therapy can lend assistance in the recovery process.
When the upper arm bone, also known as the humorous, is forced out of the shoulder socket, then instability in the shoulder begins. This can be because of overuse, or a sudden accident. Sadly, when shoulder dislocation takes place it is very likely to happen again. When this frequently occurs, the condition is known as chronic shoulder instability.
Dislocations of the shoulders can be either partial dislocations or complete dislocations. This means either the ball joint will come out of the socket completely or partially. Ligaments in the shoulder being stretched or strained can cause dislocation, but it is not the only cause.
Shoulder separation differs from dislocation because it is a direct result of loosened ligaments. The bones remain in place while the ligaments surrounding them cause a feeling of weakness and instability. Physical therapy as well as adjusting general motion with the shoulder can assist in minimizing your symptoms. Seeking treatment from a medical professional is always a wise decision when dealing with these kinds of injuries. Anti-inflammatory medications and injections can help bring relief to the swelling and pain in the joint.
Most of these shoulder injuries do not require surgical intervention. However, shoulder replacement surgery is still an option to resolve these conditions. It is not as common as hip or knee replacements, but it can effectively restore your shoulder to its former function.
If you are interested in such a surgical procedure, you will first have to go through an evaluation with an orthopedic surgeon. This will include a full examination, a deep dive into your medical history, as well as imaging tests such as MRIs and X-rays.
If you are ready to address your shoulder pain, contact Surgery Consultants of Florida today to schedule a surgical consultation. Shoulder pain is common, but you do not have to live with it.