From reaching into a cabinet to grab your coffee cup in the morning, to sitting at your desk at work, to swinging that racket or golf club in the evening, your shoulder is constantly used. So, if your shoulder is causing you discomfort or pain, you may not be able to focus on anything else and want relief as soon as possible. The best method to treat your shoulder pain will depend on the type of shoulder injury. At ORTHOKnox orthopedic clinics, our doctors can diagnose your injury by conducting a physical exam and testing your shoulder’s range of motion. Your doctor may also need to order tests, such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan, to determine the specific type, location, and extent of your injury.
The top culprits for shoulder pain and injury include the following:
- Frozen shoulder: inflammation in the lining of the ball and socket joint
- Damaged tendons: inflammation due to overuse or degeneration
- Shoulder impingements: bones in your shoulder become pinched
- Rotator cuff tears: tear in the tendons of the shoulder joint
- Osteoporosis: gradual wear and tear of the shoulder joint
- Fractures: break in the shoulder blade, collarbone, or upper arm bone
How are these shoulder injuries treated?
Frozen shoulder and damaged tendons can typically be treated at home, along with physical therapy. Shoulder impingements, rotator cuff tears, and osteoporosis can sometimes be treated at home and with physical therapy, but more severe injuries that do not respond to conservative management may require surgery to relieve pain and stiffness and allow the shoulder to heal. Fractures will need to be immobilized (if the bone has not shifted) to allow the fracture to heal before undergoing physical therapy. Some bones can be displaced with a fracture, which requires surgery to heal.
What are the top methods to treat shoulder pain?
Treatment at Home
The first method we recommend trying at home is RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can also help with shoulder pain. You should rest for at least a few days before gradually returning to your activities. But if your pain is severe or persists for more than 2 weeks after treatment at home, then you should see your doctor.
Any shoulder injury can benefit from physical therapy. At ORTHOKnox, your physical therapist will work with you to strengthen your shoulder, improve your range of motion, and increase your flexibility. This should relieve some shoulder pain, help you reach your shoulder movement goals, and encourage your body to support your shoulder.
Steroid shots can help relieve pain and stiffness in the shoulder, especially in cases of osteoarthritis.
Shoulder fractures can be immobilized with a cast, brace, or sling (depending on fracture location) so that the bone can heal.
If the bones are displaced, have broken through the skin, or there is other damage in the shoulder, surgery is typically the best option to treat a fracture. More severe rotator cuff tears, shoulder impingements, and cases of osteoporosis may also benefit from surgery.
At ORTHOKnox, our surgeon can perform arthroscopic surgery, which is minimally invasive. This allows for a smaller incision, shorter recovery time, and preservation of healthy bone and tissue. Traditional shoulder surgery is also an option for some shoulder injuries.
How can I treat shoulder pain in Knoxville, TN?
If you have shoulder pain that will not subside, then we can treat you at the ORTHOKnox locations in Knoxville, TN, and Athens, TN. For more information about how the board-certified surgeon, sports medicine team, or physical therapists at ORTHOKnox can treat your shoulder pain or to discuss shoulder injury prevention, call (865) 251-3030, or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form. We look forward to hearing from you!