Shoulder pain is common and can be disruptive to your everyday life, especially if it’s severe and persistent. It can prevent you from performing tasks at work, playing sports, and even doing daily errands. More serious cases can also impede you from getting rest and a full night’s sleep. Fortunately, an orthopedic doctor can help relieve pain to allow you to get back to your normal life.
Here’s what they can do to provide you with shoulder pain relief.
Your orthopedic doctor will first perform different tests to determine what’s causing your shoulder pain. They will assess your medical history and ask questions about what might be causing the pain. They will also conduct a physical exam to test your range of motion and the pain you feel. In addition, your provider will prod around your aching joint to spot bruises, tenderness, lumps, or signs of deformation.
To aid with diagnosis, they may recommend imaging tests like an X-ray, a CT scan, or an MRI scan. After figuring out the cause of your shoulder pain, only then will they recommend a treatment plan for you. Mild cases may benefit from conservative approaches, while severe conditions may need surgical intervention.
Most cases of mild and moderate shoulder injuries may be resolved with the R.I.C.E. method:
- Rest – refrain from using your affected shoulder or putting pressure on it
- Ice – apply an ice pack over your painful joint for 15-20 minutes, three to four times a day, but don’t put ice directly on your skin
- Compress – wrap your injury with a medical bandage or an athletic wrap to keep the swelling under control
- Elevate – raise your painful shoulder to a level above your heart to decrease swelling
Activity modification involves limiting or changing how you use your affected joint. Your orthopedic doctor may ask you to refrain from doing specific movements depending on your condition. For example, they may tell you to avoid lifting your arms if you have a rotator cuff injury. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons surrounding your joint. It’s responsible for supporting upward and rotating arm motions, hence why you should avoid them.
Your provider may also recommend not doing tedious activities like playing sports, lifting heavy weights, or performing work tasks. If your shoulder pain is severe, they may tell you to avoid driving or rest your joint altogether. Avoid putting pressure on your shoulder or forcing it to bear weight beyond what you’re comfortable with. That may result in worse pain, more damage, aggravated symptoms, and more injury.
Medication And Bracing
If the pain is crippling and unbearable, your doctor may suggest you take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. They may also use restrictive devices to keep your shoulder from moving. Your provider may recommend a brace or a sling, depending on what fits your condition best.
Physical therapy is another conservative treatment method for shoulder pain. Your provider may recommend this to help relieve symptoms and promote full recovery. Here are a few examples of therapy modalities available to you:
- Exercises and stretching
- Massage, either manual or with the help of equipment
- Heat and cold therapy
- Ultrasound therapy, which uses sound waves
- Electrical stimulation, which uses small electric currents to stimulate muscles
These forms of therapy can help relieve pain and swelling, and facilitate healing for injured muscles and tissues. Injuries often affect connective tissues in the shoulder, like ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. Cartilage cushions your bones from impact, pressure, and damage.
Severe cases of shoulder pain may require surgery, especially if it’s caused by a degenerative joint disease or torn tissues. The most common types of joint surgery are:
- Shoulder arthroscopy – a minimally-invasive surgery that uses small incisions and a long, thin instrument with a camera at the end
- Shoulder arthroplasty – the replacement of the ball, socket, or both parts of your joint using artificial implants
Relief For Shoulder Pain In Kansas City
Shoulder pain can prevent you from doing important things like going to work, playing sports, and spending time with family. It can also cause restlessness and sleepless nights, especially if the aching is severe. Fortunately, orthopedic doctors can make an accurate diagnosis to determine what treatment best fits your condition. They may recommend activity modification, medication, bracing, or physical therapy. They may also suggest surgery for more severe cases.
If you’re looking for relief for shoulder pain in Kansas City, look no further than Midwest Orthopaedics. We have a team of board-certified orthopedic surgeons who can give you the comprehensive care you deserve, from diagnosis to recovery. If you want to know more about our services, you may call our friendly staff at (913) 362-8317. If you want to book a consultation, you may use our secure online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!