If you have shoulder pain, you're not alone. More than 14 million people visit the doctor for a shoulder problem each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you have shoulder pain, you may be tempted to put on a good face and ignore your pain, but this can make the problem worse. This can increase the damage in the joint and could even cause other problems.
Most shoulder pain is caused by problems in the soft tissues, muscles, ligaments and tendons that make up the shoulder joint. Treatment options will depend on the cause or source of the pain. Below are some common problems.
- Tendonitis, irritation or inflammation of the tendons of the shoulder can occur due to overwork of the joint, repetitive wear and tear due to age or if the tendon splits or tears due to an injury or a degenerative condition.
- Overuse of the shoulder can sometimes lead to swelling or inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs, or bursa, in the joints of the shoulder, which normally reduce friction during movement. When this happens, movement in the shoulder can be limited or may stiffen into a condition called "frozen shoulder."
- Shoulder Injuries
- Shoulder pain can also occur when the bones in the shoulder are moved out of their normal alignment, such as during a sports injury or fall. This can cause the shoulder to become dislocated, either partially or completely. Dislocations often make the arm feel like dead weight and can be accompanied by pain.
- Arthritis in the shoulder often occurs after years of use especially from repetitive work conditions. There are many different types, and it is often characterized by swelling, pain and stiffness.
Treatment for shoulder pain
When pain is caused by a sport or other injury, you will want to talk to a doctor right away for acute care. For pain that is more long-term, you should know that treatment options are available.
Depending on the nature of your pain, you and your doctor may consider non-surgical options such as pain relievers, muscle relaxants, corticosteroid injections or a prescribed physical therapy regimen. For pain that persists over several months, surgical options such as arthroscopic surgery, or even shoulder joint replacement may also be considered.
The important thing is to remember you don't have to shoulder the burden on your own. A doctor will work with you to determine the best course of action to bring relief and range of motion back to the joint.
To find a doctor or speak to a nurse, call Riverside Community Hospital at (951) 788-3463.