Managing Shoulder Pain
The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the body. It has a versatile range of motion, which are all attributed to the rotator cuff. This part of the shoulder is made up of four tendons, tissues that connect bone to muscle. It enables the shoulder to move forward and backward and for the arm to move up and away from the body, as well as in circular motion. In addition to having four tendons within the rotator cuff, the shoulder is also a meeting point for three bones: the collarbone, the shoulder blade, and the long bone of the upper arm. At the conjunction of these bones, there is a layer of cartilage that prevents friction. Injury to any part of the shoulder can significantly limit mobility and comfort.
Whether resultant from an injury or caused by the age-related deterioration of cartilage tissue, shoulder pain needs to be treated. At the Art of Pain Management, we offer innovative solutions that rely on the body’s natural healing capacity.
What Causes Shoulder Pain?
Shoulder pain may start from an injury playing sports or performing some type of intensive physical work. Many times, we see shoulder pain develop more gradually as a result of repetitive movement that degrades the joint or tissues that support it.
Which Conditions Can Cause Shoulder Pain?
Several conditions may instigate pain in the shoulder. The most common is rotator cuff tendinitis. This condition is the swelling of one or more of the tendons that make up the rotator cuff. Another condition that could cause shoulder pain is impingement syndrome, in which the rotator cuff “catches” between the ball portion of the humerus (arm bone) and the acromium of the scapula that covers it. In some cases, shoulder pain originates elsewhere, like the cervical spine of the neck, where nerves can radiate sensation through the shoulder and down the arm.
Conditions that can cause shoulder pain include:
- Torn cartilage
- Rotator cuff tear
- Tendinitis or bursitis
- A pinched nerve in the shoulder or neck
- Bone spurs
Are There any Risk Factors for Shoulder Pain?
The older we get, the more risk we may have for shoulder pain. This is because the soft tissues that surround the shoulder joint can degrade over time and through years of use.
Athletes at all levels and those who perform work that requires repetitive movement of the shoulders may have a higher risk for shoulder pain.
What Are the Pain Management Options for Shoulder Pain?
The treatment that is typically recommended for shoulder pain revolves around the nature of the injury. Doctors may prescribe rest, ice, and a sling to immobilize the shoulder when pain is mild. These remedies are intended to reduce swelling and pain and allow the body to self-repair gradually. Additional therapeutic suggestions may include:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Corticosteroid injections administered into the shoulder for severe inflammation
- Physical therapy may teach the patient ways to move the shoulder that prevent further damage and pain
- Surgery may be recommended when conservative therapies do not achieve the desired improvements or when the joint has been so badly injured that it is not likely to repair itself.
In our Philadelphia and Upper Darby offices, we address shoulder pain using innovative regenerative medicine techniques. Options include platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapy. Each of these modalities works by inserting the body’s instinctive healing cells into damaged tissue. Platelet-rich plasma has an abundance of growth factors and anti-inflammatory chemicals that ease discomfort. Stem cells are known to transform into other types of cells, including bone and cartilage, which may assist the body in regenerating damaged tissue.
Can Shoulder Pain Return after Pain Management Treatments?
Being such a mobile joint, the shoulder is susceptible to injury and stress from overuse. Pain may return if the shoulder is reinjured or if osteoarthritis has begun to break down the cartilage that separates the bones that meet at the shoulder junction. People with osteoarthritis often require ongoing care to preserve the joint as long as possible.
Is It Possible to Stay Active with Shoulder Pain?
It is possible to regain an active lifestyle by addressing shoulder pain early after symptoms are noticed or right away after an injury. The intent behind our selection of treatments is to help the body move through its inflammatory response to the healing phase in which tissue is repaired.
Schedule a Consultation
Shoulder pain can become an ongoing problem if symptoms are not assessed in a timely manner. If you’re struggling with shoulder pain caused by an injury or osteoarthritis, consider the value of regenerative medicine. To schedule a consultation where you can learn more about services like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cell therapy for shoulder pain, call 215-375-7107. At this number, we can arrange a visit for you at our Philadelphia or Upper Darby office.