Shoulder Pain Treatment Options

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Understanding Shoulder/Upper Extremity Pain

Your shoulder pain may be caused by an injury that you can immediately identify, a gradually increasing condition that caused by overuse or a structural issue that needs to be diagnosed. Some common causes of pain include:

  • Collar bone or upper arm bone fracture
  • Dislocation
  • Rotator cuff injury (health library link)
  • Pinched nerves
  • Tendonitis
  • Frozen Shoulder  (health library link)
  • Shoulder joint instability
  • Arthritis

To diagnose your shoulder pain your doctor may order medical imaging (i.e. xray, CT-scan, MRI, etc.) laboratory testing or an arthroscopy—a minimally invasive procedure that uses an optic tube that sends images of the inside of the joint to a screen. Arthroscopy is also used for treatment of some conditions.

Treatment options:

The treatment varies widely depending on the cause of your pain. Our orthopedic shoulder specialists will work with you to determine the reason for your pain and the appropriate course of treatment. Some common treatment options include:

Non surgical treatment:

  • Activity modification
  • Rest
  • Physical therapy
  • Medications

Surgical treatment:

  • Rotator Cuff repair—a common restorative surgery–often done using an arthroscope inserted into the joint through a very small incision—to repair torn tendons or muscles in the shoulder, or to shave bone spurs that may be pinching the shoulder.
  • Shoulder replacement or reverse total shoulder replacement—though less common than hip or knee replacement, shoulder joint replacement surgery removes diseased or damaged bone in the shoulder and replaces it with an artificial joint. Shoulder replacement is often used for arthritis of the shoulder than is not relieved by other methods. Reverse shoulder replacement can be used for patients who need shoulder replacement and have a rotator cuff injury.