Shoulder pain can be a debilitating issue that interferes with the simplest of daily activities. If you suffer from shoulder pain, you know how much it can impact your fitness routine, ability to work and even to get dressed in the mornings. Shoulder pain can be a chronic issue, lasting for several months or even years. It can also be an acute issue, brought on by a trauma or injury. Whatever the cause or duration of your shoulder pain, getting the appropriate treatment to address the source is key to getting back to your normal life.
There can be many types of shoulder pain associated with the joint comprised of your humerus, clavicle and scapula. The following are the primary sources of pain in the shoulder joint:
- A fracture in one of the three bones; the humerus, clavicle or scapula; can result from a high impact sports injury. It can also result from taking a fall from a significant height or from a car accident.
- Arthritis, including osteoarthritis, is very common in causing pain in the shoulder area. This condition devlops slowly and tends to get worse with time.
- Inflamation of the tendon, tendinitis, or a tear in the tendon can result in significant shoulder pain. Tendinitis often results from overuse of the joint. This can be related to issues such as arthritis or from excessive, repetitive movements in certain jobs or sports.
- Instability of the shoulder joint, including total dislocation or subluxation, can be extremely painful and chronic. If the head of the upper arm bone slips out completely or partially from the socket, a dislocation occurs. A partial dislocation is also called a subluxation. A major issue with this type of injury is the fact that once it happens, you are more prone to repeating the injury. This occurs as the tissues holding the joint in place become loose.
- Tumors and infections can also contribute to shoulder pain so it is important to rule out all causes.
With so many different causes of shoulder pain, you can see why it is so important to first determine the source before understanding the appropriate course of treatment. If you have been suffering from shoulder pain for several days and rest has not addressed the issue, seeing an orthopaedic surgeon may be the best option. In the office, an orthopaedic surgeon, especially one trained in shoulder issues, can get a better understanding of your shoulder pain. From a complete medical examination and possibly an x-ray, MRI or ultrasound, the physician can evaluate the source of your pain.
An orthopaedic surgeon should be able to determine not only the source of your pain but also the appropriate course of treatment. This could mean surgery but could also be something less invasive like physical therapy. This will vary greatly from one person to the next taking into consideration factors like age, activity level and past medical history.