An Overview of Shoulder Pain
What is Shoulder Pain?
Shoulder pain affects a large number of the population. Statistics show that nearly 70% of people experience shoulder pain at one time or another in their life. The pain may be the result of a traumatic injury, from wear and tear caused by aging or degenerative arthritis that impacts the area.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report shoulder pain, particularly that caused by shoulder arthritis, causes significant limitations in vital daily activities. There are approximately one in three people affected by arthritis in one or more joints (including the shoulder), causing work limitations and problems with daily activities. The shoulder is susceptible to injury, arthritis and degeneration.
What Causes Shoulder Pain?
There are several factors that may contribute to shoulder pain. Some of the most common causes include:
- Shoulder bursitis
- Arthritis of the shoulder
- Pain related to rotator cuff injury
What are the Symptoms?
Shoulder pain can vary in degree from mild to severe, depending on the cause. Shoulder bursitis results in severe inflammation and pain that is often aching, burning and even piercing at times. Over 90% of people affected by shoulder bursitis do not require surgery but experience severe pain that limits activity if left untreated. When the individual moves their arm and shoulder forward, the soft tissue in the shoulder becomes irritated and inflamed, resulting in significant pain.
Arthritis in the shoulder presents similar symptoms to bursitis, however the joint may cause a persistent achiness due to inflammation and irritation within the ball and socket. Some patients report the entire arm aches from the shoulder to the wrist.
Rotator cuff injury, depending on the cause and severity of the condition, may result in severe pain. Inflammation and a burning sensation may be experienced around the shoulder and into the upper arm. Patients may develop a weakness in the affected arm with restricted mobility and limited range of motion.
How the Shoulder Condition Diagnosed?
When you arrive at the doctor’s office or pain clinic for assessment of your shoulder pain, your doctor will examine the affected area. You may be asked to lift your arm upward and forward so that the doctor can document your pain level and tolerance. Range of motion and mobility will also be assessed.
Your doctor may ask you several questions so that he or she can get a clear indication of the symptoms you experienced. Your Fort Myers shoulder doctor will be interested in knowing how long the symptoms have been going on.
X-rays and an MRI may be needed for further examination. If your doctor suspects arthritis or a tendon tear, you will be required to undergo testing. Your doctor will attempt to rule out any condition going on with the neck, such as a pinched nerve, which may mask itself as a shoulder condition.
What are the Treatments?
Most shoulder pain patients do not require surgery, but if the pain is chronic, pain treatment is necessary. Many shoulder conditions, including bursitis and tendinitis can be treated using anti-inflammatory drugs. When the inflammation is reduced the pain usually subsides. Some patients require combination treatment that includes medications accompanied with physical therapy or another form of treatment.
Chronic inflammation and pain may require a more aggressive treatment, such as a soft tissue injection around the shoulder region. Your doctor will try to pinpoint the area of pain origination and inject a pain reliever into the painful site. Both steroidal injections and hyaluronic acid injections offer significant pain relief.
Physical therapy has been seen as a highly effective form of treatment for the relief of shoulder pain. Strengthening exercises and stretching help improve the muscle and mobility of the shoulder joint. Some patients report acupuncture in combination with physical therapy as an effective treatment plan. If you would like to pursue acupuncture treatment for your chronic pain, be sure to consult with your Fort Myers pain specialist today to find out if the treatment would help you. Over 70% of patients who receive acupuncture treatment report a decrease in pain.
Most effective treatment plans are a combination of medication, therapy and another form of treatment. Injections and medication may work in one patient where medication and therapy may be effective in another. The goal is to reduce the pain and your doctor can help you to receive the proper treatment plan for you.
What are the Outcomes?
Shoulder pain does not have to impact your life and daily activities. Treatment is available that is both effective and successful in reducing symptoms of pain and discomfort. The goal of treatment is to reduce shoulder pain. Nearly 80% of patients who receive some form or a combination of treatments experience pain reduction within the first couple of weeks of treatment.
Your outcome depends on the nature of the injury or disease. However, some form of pain reduction is available no matter what the cause of the shoulder condition. Medication management, physical therapy, joint injections and even acupuncture are available to help reduce pain in the shoulder joint.
If you or a loved one is suffering from shoulder pain in the Greater Fort Myers area, then Fort Myers pain management can help you.
Call (239) 288-0072 for assistance today!