Shoulder pain can impact your ability to move and perform daily living activities. If you have a shoulder problem that causes pain or impacts your mobility, you know that it can be hard to do simple things like washing your hair, playing a game of catch with your dog, or reaching for something in a cabinet. Your shoulder may even hurt when you’re walking. Several different conditions can cause shoulder pain. The good news is there are surgical and nonsurgical treatments that can help reduce pain and improve mobility in your shoulders.
What conditions can cause shoulder pain?
An injury to any part of the shoulder or chronic conditions that cause degeneration in the shoulder can cause shoulder pain.
Conditions that can cause shoulder pain include:
- Shoulder arthritis
- Shoulder bursitis
- Rotator cuff tears
- Frozen shoulder
Shoulder arthritis is the inflammation of the joints in your shoulder, which causes pain and stiffness. Shoulder arthritis can be quite painful, making it more difficult to move your shoulder.
Symptoms of shoulder arthritis include:
- Stiffness in your shoulder that can make it hard to walk or bend over
- Locking, sticking, or grinding noise (crepitus) when you move your shoulder
- Limited range of motion in your shoulder
While surgery may be necessary for some people with shoulder arthritis, there are several treatments that can help. These include medication to treat the underlying condition, physical therapy to help decrease pain and increase your shoulder’s range of motion, and lifestyle changes.
Shoulder bursitis is a painful inflammation of the bursae around your shoulder. It’s most commonly caused by repetitive use and over-stressing the areas around your shoulder joints. It can also be caused by direct trauma (like falling and landing on your shoulder) or infection.
Bursitis causes symptoms, such as:
- Achiness or stiffness in the shoulder joint(s)
- Shoulder joints that hurt more when touched
- Redness or swelling in your shoulder joints
- Limited shoulder mobility
Most cases of shoulder bursitis go away on their own in time, so they are usually treated without surgery. Physical therapy is a common treatment for bursitis. It can help improve range of motion, flexibility, and strength in your shoulder. If bursitis is causing serious shoulder pain, your doctor may recommend surgery.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
Rotator cuff injuries most often occur in people who perform repeated overhead motions for their job or in a sport, such as painters, carpenters, and tennis players. They are also more common in elderly people and people with a family history of rotator cuff injuries.
Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury may include:
- A dull ache deep in the shoulder
- Disturbed sleep if you lie on the shoulder with the injury
- Difficulty reaching behind your back
- Arm weakness
- Shoulder mobility problems
Without treatment, rotator cuff injuries can lead to permanent loss of motion or weakness in your shoulder or cause the shoulder joint to degenerate.
With rest and physical therapy, rotator cuff injuries can heal on their own. Physical therapists can help restore muscle strength, range of motion, and coordination while helping manage pain. In more serious cases, a rotator cuff injury may be treated with surgery.
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is characterized by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. It’s more likely to occur in people who are recovering from a medical condition that prevents them from moving their arm, like a stroke or surgery. It begins gradually and worsens over time.
Frozen shoulder is caused when the connective tissue in your shoulder joint begins to thicken. It’s more likely in people who are older, have certain chronic diseases, or have limited mobility.
Most frozen shoulders get better on their own and can be treated with a nonsurgical pain management program. Physical therapy, especially stretching exercises, can help patients recover from frozen shoulder. Doctors may also recommend surgery for serious cases of pain from frozen shoulder.
Beaumont can successfully treat shoulder pain
If you’re experiencing a shoulder mobility problem, Beaumont can help. We offer treatment for even the most complex shoulder problems. Our orthopedic surgeons and shoulder specialists can help you determine the cause of your shoulder pain. Once a cause is determined, we offer several different treatment options, and we can help you develop a personal treatment plan.
Nonsurgical treatments for shoulder pain
Depending on the cause, the first course of action is often nonsurgical and geared towards managing your shoulder pain or mobility issue. Nonsurgical treatment options we offer to help reduce your shoulder pain and improve your shoulder mobility include:
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation, including physical, aquatic, and posture therapy
- Pain relief medication and anti-inflammatory drugs
- Treatment for an underlying condition, such as antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) if you have rheumatoid arthritis
- Pain relief injections, such as corticosteroids
Surgical treatments for shoulder pain
If your shoulder pain problems are persistent or caused by a serious condition, your doctor may recommend shoulder surgery. Our shoulder care team includes board-certified orthopedic surgeons and specialists, many of whom are innovative researchers and leaders in their field. From minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques to total joint replacement to complicated fractures, shoulder surgeons at Beaumont have the special training and experience to expertly treat your shoulder pain.
Make an appointment at Beaumont
If you have shoulder pain, immobility, or other symptoms of any of these shoulder conditions, contact a Beaumont shoulder specialist to get more information or make an appointment. Our specialists offer a full range of treatments for patients of all ages and all types of joint pain and dysfunction. Beaumont’s orthopedic program is available throughout Metro Detroit. No matter which type of shoulder condition you may have, we have a team of specialists ready to determine the best treatment option for you.
Call 800-633-7377 to make an appointment.