Shoulders are the most commonly injured joints in the body according to the Orthopedic Department at Rush University Medical Center. Due to the frequent necessity of using the shoulder, it can also be one of the most uncomfortable injuries in the body. The shoulder’s unique and complex anatomy makes it the joint with the greatest range of motion but with the least stability. As a result, your shoulders are more susceptible to strain, repetitive and/or age drive injuries than other joints. our orthopaedic physicians and pain specialists at Elmhurst Orthopaedics can help you.
Whether your shoulder injury is a result of a sports, work, overuse, or anything else from sprains and strains to arthritis let our team of board-certified orthopaedic physicians and pain specialists at Elmhurst Orthopaedics,customize your treatment plan to restore your shoulder function and mobility, decrease pain, and provide the proper education and strengthening to prevent re-injury.
How the Shoulder Works
The shoulder itself is a ball-and-socket joint that utilizes three separate bones to function:
- Humerus (upper arm bone)
- Scapula (shoulder blade)
- Clavicle (collarbone)
Common Shoulder Pain & Injuries
Rotator Cuff – injuries and tears
Your rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that work to keep your arm in your shoulder socket. These muscles and tendons work to cover the humerus. The rotator cuff which attaches the humerus to your shoulder also gives your shoulder its mobility. A tear of this tendon can be very painful because it no longer fully attaches the parts of your shoulder to each other.
An acute rotator cuff tear occurs when you lift something heavy or your arm is outstretched. This type of tear often accompanies another kind of shoulder injury like dislocation or fractures.
A degenerative tear, on the other hand, is a tear that occurs over time as you age and in the shoulder of your dominant hand.
This condition happens when your shoulders rotator cuff tendons are intermittently trapped and compressed during shoulder movements This causes injury to the shoulder tendons and bursa resulting in painful shoulder movements. Impingement occurs when you raise your arm and your rotator cuff impinges on the acromion and the bursa, which causes pain.
Shoulder impingement can be a consequence of many factors, which place extra strain on the tendons. For example:
- Poor posture, rounded shoulders and an imbalance between shoulder girdle muscles
- Undertaking repetitive activities (e.g. throwing, swimming, tennis, golf, pushing and pulling and overhead movement)
- Having an incorrect technique in particular sports
- Arthritis and bony growths
- Trauma (e.g. a fall)
- AC Joint Injury / Seapration
- Bicep Tendonitis
- Broken Shoulder – Fractured Humerus
- Frozen Shoulder
- Impingement Syndrome
- Labral Tears
- Rotator Cuff Calcific Tendinitis
- Rotator Cuff Injuries
- Rotator Cuff Tears
- Shoulder Instability
- Shoulder Tendonitis
- Sprains and Strains
- Swimmer’s Shoulder
for Shoulder Pain:
- Fracture Care
- Rehabilitation and Conditioning / Physical Therapy
- Anti-Inflammatory Medication
- Steroid (Cortisone) Injection
for Shoulder Pain:
- Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery
- Rotator Cuff Surgery
- Shoulder Replacement Surgery
- Open Surgery to repair tears, impingement and calcific tendinitis or bursitis
Relieving Shoulder Pain
- Active Rest – using your shoulder while avoiding movement or tasks that cause pain
- Ice – apply for 15 minutes 2-3 times per day
- Heat – only use for 10-15 minutes when pain is not constant using a heating pad or shower
- Medication – your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter or prescription medication to alleviate pain and inflamation. Be sure to advise your doctor of all medicines you are taking and one use as prescribed.
- Taping & Bracing – using Kineseology tape, joint pain can be alleviated by holding the muscles and joint in place
- Injection Therapy – your physician may prescribe an injection that is a combination of anesthetic and cortisone which may take a few hours or a couple of days to feel a difference.
- Electrical Stimulation – a mild current sent through small pads to the shoulder to stimulate nerves and muscles.
- Ultrasound – using sound waves into the rotator cuff to warm the tissues and encourage healing
When persistent shoulder pain disrupts your quality of life, our medical team at Elmhurst Orthopaedics is here to provide you with high-quality personalized care to ensure your long-term health. Our expert orthopaedic surgeons and pain specialists will provide you with an accurate diagnosis and a personalized comprehensive treatment plan, using surgical treatment as a last-resort option.