It’s true that many causes of shoulder pain can be relatively minor bruises, strains or overstressed muscles.
Watch this video about one of our patients who suffered daily but now lives a full life!
Are any of the following familiar to you?
Stiffness in your shoulders or neck
Tenderness or pain that comes and goes
Reduced range of motion
Sharp pain in your shoulder or upper arm
Pain when lifting or throwing, even light objects
Trouble reaching above your head
Crunching or popping in your shoulder (crepitus)
Difficulty and pain during and after sports like golf, bowling, tennis, basketball or baseball
Swelling, especially after strenuous activity
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, do not ignore them. It may be tempting to assume your shoulder pain is something minor, but we must be careful not to ignore what could be a more serious problem.
It’s true that many causes of shoulder pain can be relatively minor bruises, strains or overstressed muscles. But these symptoms may also be related to more serious, possibly degenerative or debilitating, conditions. If your shoulder is hurting, here are some things that will help you better understand the nature of your pain.
Anatomy of the shoulder
As a complex ball-and-socket joint, the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body.
The shoulder joint includes three bones: the upper arm (humerus), the shoulder blade (scapula) and collarbone (clavicle). The humerus fits into a rounded socket in the scapula called the glenoid. Several muscles and tendons, collectively called the rotator cuff, hold all of that together and allow your shoulder to operate properly.
The shoulder is a combination of three joints and one ‘false’ joint that work together to provide that wide range of motion:
Acromioclavicular Joint: where the shoulder blade meets the collarbone
Glenohumeral Joint: where the upper arm fits into the shoulder blade
Sternoclavicular Joint: supports the connection of the arms and shoulders to the chest
Scapulothoracic Joint: sometimes called a ‘false joint,’ because it is not truly synovial, this ‘joint’ keeps the shoulder socket properly aligned
Because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the socket it fits into, any damage to the connective tendons, ligaments or muscles may result in loss of stability or function in the joint.
If any of these joints, bones, muscles or tendons are injured or inflamed, this may result in pain, weakness, stiffness and reduced range of motion. While injury can result in immediate pain, swelling and other symptoms, simple wear and tear over time can also cause pain and limit flexibility.
Acute injuries that cause shoulder pain:
Rotator Cuff tear
Wear and tear that causes shoulder pain:
Bursitis – inflammation of the bursa, fluid sacs that cushion the joints
Cartilage (SLAP) tears in the shoulder socket
Frozen shoulder – limited shoulder movement, often subsequent to an injury
Osteoarthritis – a joint condition in which cartilage is worn away, causing bone spurs, pain and, potentially, nerve damage
Repeated reaching overhead – causes tendons to rub and scrape against a part of the shoulder blade called the acromion
Rotator Cuff injury – while this could be caused by acute injury, Rotator Cuff damage may also be the result of repetitive stress
Tendonitis – inflammation of the ropy fibers that connect bones and muscles
Shoulder pain may also be “referred.” This is when the pain experienced is caused by a condition or symptom not located in the shoulder joint. Osteoarthritis , Disc Degeneration or a Herniated Disc in the cervical vertebra may lead to shoulder pain. A pinched nerve (Radiculopathy) in the Cervical Spine may also lead to pain.
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Conditions Associated With Shoulder
Degenerative Disk Disease
Our spinal vertebrae and spinal cord are protected by fibrocartilaginous discs that act as shock absorbers, helping our spines move, flex and support our weight. Over time, the outer shell of these discs can be damaged by injury or simple wear and tear. As these tears increase, without healing, the result can be debilitating chronic pain…
Diagnosing and Treating Shoulder Pain
For minor shoulder injury or pain, you may opt for at-home care using the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. These steps, combined with over-the-counter pain medications or anti-inflammatory drugs may be beneficial. Be sure to read the warning on all medication and avoid even small amounts of over-the-counter medication if you have sensitivity or allergies to these drugs.
Medical treatment for shoulder pain involves the following:
● Determining the location, type and severity of the issue causing the pain
● The time frame of the injury
● The age, overall health and habits of the patient in pain
● The personal and family medical history of the patient in pain
During your initial visit, Dr. Skaliy will complete a patient interview and physical examination to answer these questions. Further diagnostics may include medical imaging (X-rays, MRI or CT scan).
If initial at-home care and over-the-counter pain relievers have not worked, Dr. Skaliy may suggest Epidural Steroid Injections to reduce pain and inflammation in and around the joint.
In severe cases of chronic pain or joint degeneration, some physicians may recommend surgeries, including Arthroscopy or Arthroplasty. Because of the potential side-effects, complications and other risks related to all surgical procedures, Dr. Skaliy recommends minimally-invasive, nonsurgical options to treat shoulder pain, including Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy and S Cell Therapy – Regenerative Medicine.
How effective is nonsurgical treatment for shoulder pain?
S Cell Therapy has produced excellent result in the majority of patients, effectively treating Osteoarthritis , Rotator Cuff injury , Tendonitis, Tendonosis and ligament sprains.
Because pain-free, fully-functioning shoulder joints are so important to our daily lives, results matter. Our patients who have received S Cell treatments for Osteoarthritis, report significant pain reduction and drastically increased function, over time — all without surgery!
That continual improvement over time is another tremendous benefit of S Cell Therapy. Because the stem cells continue to grow, heal and regenerate cells, patients experience ongoing increases in function and decreases in pain even years after the initial treatment.
A Better Solution for Shoulder Pain
Doctors have used Epidural Steroid Injections for many years to treat neck or back pain. This minimally-invasive treatment decreases or eliminates the inflammation caused by Degenerative Disc Disease, Spinal Stenosis, Herniated Disc Disease and Sciatica…
At Atlanta Spine Specialist we are dedicated to helping people live a pain free life. In addition to these treatments we offer other minimally invasive treatments to heal your body.
Please call our office to learn more about these options (770) 844-3242.