Many people see orthopedic specialists for shoulder pain every year. It can be caused by a variety of conditions and injuries, and there are a number of treatments available to reduce pain and restore functionality. Some causes of shoulder pain are injury (like a dislocated shoulder or rotator cuff injury), infection, and arthritis.
Shoulder pain comes in many forms, from shooting pain to dull to burning to aching pain, and it can be occasional pain to consistent pain. A type of pain known as referred pain can also be felt in the shoulder area. Referred pain is not caused by anything wrong with the shoulder, but instead is due to something going on in another part of the body. For example, some people who are having a heart attack may feel pain or discomfort in the shoulder area.
Shoulder pain also varies in severity, from mild pain to severe, debilitating pain. It may occur by itself without other symptoms, or it may be accompanied by swelling and stiffness, redness, warmth, weakness, instability, popping noises, and difficulty raising your arm or moving your arm away from your body.
Causes of shoulder pain
There are many conditions and injuries that can cause shoulder pain. Some of the more common causes of orthopedic shoulder pain are:
Shoulder pain relief
Many causes of shoulder pain can be managed at home with some self-care, but there are some signs you should see a doctor for your pain. If your shoulder pain getting in the way of daily living or making your usual activities painful or difficult, you may want to see a doctor for treatment.
For shoulder joint pain, head to an emergency center if you experience any of the following:
- There is sudden pain in your shoulder
- You notice shoulder deformity
- You can’t lift your arm away from your body
- You have intense swelling
- You felt a pop after a fall or injury
- You have signs of a heart attack, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, or sweating
You know your body better than anyone else. If your shoulder is bothering you or just doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor. It’s better to play it safe and seek treatment than to keep doing the things that could make your shoulder worse.
- If you do decide to care for your shoulder pain at home, some options include:
- Rest: Avoid repetitive motions involving your shoulder, and take it easy. Don’t overexert yourself. Try walking or jogging for exercise rather than engaging in a game of tennis or golf. Even cycling can aggravate a shoulder injury. Avoid doing anything to make the pain worse.
- Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers may work. Try them first. If they don’t work, talk to your doctor about other medications that might work for you.
- Ice and heat: Using ice and/or heat therapy can be effective to help relieve shoulder pain.
- Strength training: A physical therapist can be very helpful in providing exercises and tips for strengthening the muscles around the shoulder joint, which can ease your pain.
If you have been experiencing shoulder pain or discomfort for more than a couple weeks and it’s not improving with self-care, call your doctor to make an appointment. You may need more extensive treatment. The orthopedic shoulder specialists at Beaumont Health are experts in shoulder surgery, and they also use many non-surgical options to treat shoulder conditions.
Orthopedic shoulder surgeons at Beaumont
If you need surgery, you’ll be in good hands with our orthopedic shoulder surgeons. They treat people with a wide range of shoulder conditions and injuries. Beaumont orthopedic surgeons have access to an orthopedic laboratory that is dedicated to studying and testing new treatment options, so we truly are pioneering shoulder treatments of the future right here in Michigan.
More than 10 years ago, Beaumont pioneered the reverse ball and socket shoulder. Due to the refinements in the procedure and the joint implant, surgeons all over the United States now use it for a number of complex shoulder conditions.
Learn more about our shoulder program.
Connect with our orthopedic shoulder specialists
At Beaumont, our orthopedic surgeons are breaking new ground and pioneering treatments that improve the lives of patients dealing with shoulder pain and other orthopedic conditions. Whether you’re seeking help with an existing condition, you would like a diagnosis, or you are looking for help with recovery and rehabilitation, Beaumont joint pain doctors can help. Beaumont has orthopedic specialists who offer the treatments and services you need.
Call us at 800-633-7377 to make an appointment, or request an appointment online.