Is your shoulder bothering you?

Shoulder injuries and conditions continue to be a major health concern for many individuals across the globe. Your shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body. It is widely believed that such increased mobility raises the risk of injury. According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, injuries to the shoulder are usually caused by athletic activities which involve repetitive, excessive overhead motion such as weightlifting, pitching, swimming, and tennis. Of course, injuries can equally occur during normal activities such as gardening, hanging curtains, and washing high-raised walls. Research has proven that the impacts of a shoulder injury can range from persistent shoulder instability to shoulder degeneration over time. Getting your shoulder injury assessed by a sports injury specialist can help you heal more quickly. Take a look at the list below to help you decide if your shoulder pain requires medical attention.

Shoulder injuries can involve the  ligaments, muscles, tendons as well as cartilage. There is a broad range of shoulder injuries and conditions. Today in this post, we want to discuss in detail, some of the most common shoulder conditions and injuries.

Rotator Cuff Tears

The rotator cuff refers to a group of tendons and muscles which surround the joint of your shoulder. Their primary function is to keep your shoulder securely in the socket  during activity and to help elevate the arm. Studies tend to show that individuals who get involved in overhead repeated motions are relatively more prone to rotator cuff injuries. What’s more, age is another risk factor for this type of shoulder injury. Some sports are more likely to cause rotator cuff injuries, such as tennis, swimming and weight lifting.

The symptoms and diagnosis: The pain and the discomfort which occur as a result of rotator cuff tear are quite often described as dull aches which originate deep inside your shoulder. The affected individual may also experience some form of arm discomfort which can potentially result in difficulty reaching over your head or behind your back. You are likely to experience sleep problems, especially when you rest your whole body on the affected shoulder.

What are the treatment options? Currently, there are both surgical and non-surgical treatment options. It is important to note that your treatment options will be affected by the severity of your condition. A Bay Area shoulder injury specialist can accurately determine how severe your injury is and what your treatment options are.

Rotator Cuff Tendinitis or Shoulder Impingement

This type of shoulder injury is common among both middle-aged people and young athletes. Individuals who utilize their arms for overhead sports such as swimming and baseball are equally vulnerable to this type of condition. Finally, individuals who take part in repetitive lifting activities during construction for example, are also at higher risk.

The symptoms and the diagnosis of rotator cuff tendinitis: When you experience some form of discomfort in the front or on the side of your shoulder, then the chances are high that you have rotator cuff tendinitis. You’ll also likely to feel shoulder discomfort and stiffness  while trying to lift your arms. Other issues may include night pains and perhaps difficulty sleeping.

The associated onset symptoms are usually mild and often patients may fail to get early treatment. These signs also include abrupt shoulder discomfort while throwing a ball, minor pain which occurs either during rest or activity as well as an injury which radiates to THE side of your arm from the anterior of your shoulder. With time, these symptoms may worsen, a phenomenon that results in loss of strength and is usually accompanied with sleeping problems throughout the night.

What are the treatment options? You’ll visit a qualified shoulder doctor who will begin by assessing your overall health, as well as your activity level. Both surgical and nonsurgical options are available. These treatment options are aimed at decreasing the pain and restoring normal activity.

Shoulder instability or dislocated shoulder

As we previously mentioned, the shoulder is the body’s most flexible joint. This implies that it can be prone to incidences of dislocation. Shoulder problems in which the upper arm bone comes out of the cup-shaped socket which is a key component of your shoulder blade is often linked to shoulder dislocation. Bankart lesion or labral tears are common complications people with shoulder instability are likely to experience.

Symptoms and diagnosis: Shoulder instability usually results in general weakness and tingling or numbness near the affected region. The shoulder will feel unstable in overhead positions, and you may experience a sense of the shoulder slipping out of place. When the shoulder completely dislocates, you may experience intense pain, a visible out-of-place shoulder, and inability to move the shoulder.

What are the treatment options? There are a variety of treatment options including surgery, rehabilitation, immobilization, closed reduction and the use of medication.

Shoulder Osteoarthritis

This is a scenario in which the articular cartilage of the bone wears down with time. Perhaps this is why it is sometimes known as wear-and-tear arthritis. The articular cartilage becomes rough and frayed resulting in the reduction of the shielding space between the bones. The bones that make up the joint usually come in contact with each other during motion, a factor that causes lots of pain.

The symptoms and diagnosis of arthritis symptoms: Pain is arguably the most notable arthritic shoulder symptom. Other notable symptoms include clicking sound or painful grinding during shoulder movement.

What are the available treatment options? Initial treatment would include physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication. Advanced options include cortisone injections and possibly newer types of biological injections (stem cells or PRP). If all else fails, shoulder replacement surgeries can be highly successful.

Adhesive Capsulitis/Frozen Shoulder

This is usually characterized by pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. Symptoms usually develop and worsen over time, and take one to two year to resolve without treatment.

Symptoms and diagnosis of frozen shoulder: Typically, there are three distinct stages to adhesive capsulitis that last for many months. These stages include:

  • The inflammatory phase: The range of motion of your shoulder diminishes gradually. What’s more, you’ll begin to experience pain during shoulder movement.
  • The frozen stage: Your shoulder becomes fairly stiffer and the range of movement decreases incredibly during this period. However, the severity of pain may decrease.
  • Thawing phase: The range of motion of the shoulder starts to improve.

What are the treatment options? Either surgical or nonsurgical treatments are available. Initially a cortisone injection and physical therapy may help. If symptoms do not resolve, a surgical release of the stiff shoulder using arthroscopy is recommended. The primary objective of frozen shoulder treatment is to alleviate the pain and regain the lost range of motion as much as possible.

These are some of the most common shoulder injury conditions. You can always seek the help of a shoulder injury specialist in the Bay Area if you are suffering from any of the above conditions. It is important to consult a highly-qualified and experienced shoulder injury doctor who understands your condition.

Are You Ready to Book a Consultation?

Dr. Jeffrey Halbrecht is a highly qualified knee and shoulder injury specialist who can help you get back to your normal activities as quickly as possible. Give us a call today at (415) 923-0944 to book an appointment.