Orthopedics Physical Therapy

Shoulder Pain Uncovered

November 4, 2019

Shoulder Pain Uncovered

Is the weight of the world causing you shoulder pain?

Designed for strength and mobility, the human shoulder is unique. But when something goes wrong, we really feel it. On this edition of CHI Health Uncovered, here’s what you should know about your shoulder pain.

Hi, I’m Dr. Matt Dilisio and I am an orthopedic specialist with CHI Health.

The Anatomy of Shoulder Joints

One thing that is amazing about your shoulder is the way it moves in more directions than any of your body’s joints. Yet its bones are barely connected. Your shoulder depends on muscles, tendons and cartilage to move with ease.

You probably don’t realize how much you rely on this nifty joint – until it hurts. Shoulder pain sends millions of people to the doctor’s office each year. Shoulder pain can be caused by one of two problems: a rotator cuff tear or shoulder arthritis.

Shoulder Pain From a Rotator Cuff Tear

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons which surround the shoulder joint and keep the ball and socket in place as it moves in all directions. Unfortunately, this tendon can tear with use, which is considered a traumatic injury. An atraumatic injury can also occur with age.

Physical therapy or injections that reduce inflammation and allow healing are the best treatment for an atraumatic tear. Arthroscopic surgery, which is generally an outpatient procedure can help repair a traumatic tear.

Shoulder Pain From Arthritis

This occurs when cartilage and other tissues wear down, causing friction. Friction means pain, and people with shoulder arthritis may give up activities that hurt too much. Don’t wait for pain to become unbearable. Physical therapy, anti-inflammatories and sometimes injections can relieve shoulder arthritis.

Shoulder replacement surgery is an option for severe cases. It’s a major procedure that replaces the damaged parts of the shoulder joint.

A newer technique called a reverse shoulder replacement switches the ball and the socket is performed when the rotator cuff is torn or damaged.

Either way, the recovery time can be lengthy — three months or more. So do your shoulders a favor, don’t carry around the weight of the world.

If you notice pain or stiffness, see your health care provider for tips and exercises to keep those shoulders healthy.

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