Shoulder pain is a common problem caused by various conditions, including injuries, arthritis, and rotator cuff problems. The severity of shoulder pain can range from mild discomfort to severe pain that affects daily activities. Dr. Stephen Fisher Braselton suggests treatment options for shoulder pain based on the underlying cause, duration, and severity.
These are common steps involved in shoulder pain evaluation and diagnosis.
Medical history: The healthcare provider will ask questions about the pain’s onset, duration, and location. They may also ask about any previous injuries or medical conditions contributing to the pain.
Physical examination: The healthcare provider will perform a physical examination to assess the shoulder joint’s range of motion, strength, and stability. They will also look for signs of inflammation or other abnormalities in the shoulder.
Diagnostic tests: Diagnostic tests can help confirm or rule out potential causes of shoulder pain. These tests may include the following:
- X-rays can help identify fractures, dislocations, and other bone abnormalities that may be causing shoulder pain.
- MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide detailed images of the shoulder joint and soft tissues, making it useful for identifying conditions such as rotator cuff tears or labral tears.
- CT scan: Computed tomography (CT) scans can provide detailed images of the bones and joints of the shoulder, making it useful for identifying bone abnormalities or joint damage.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound imaging can provide detailed images of the soft tissues of the shoulder joint, making it useful for identifying conditions such as tendinitis or bursitis.
Depending on the underlying cause of the shoulder pain, the healthcare provider may refer the patient to an orthopedic specialist, physical therapist, or other healthcare providers for further evaluation and treatment. Accurate evaluation and diagnosis of shoulder pain are vital to ensure appropriate treatment and prevent further damage to the shoulder joint.
Below are some of the shoulder pain treatment options you should know:
- Rest and Ice: Resting the affected shoulder and applying ice can be effective for mild pain caused by minor injuries or overuse. This helps reduce inflammation and pain in the affected area.
- Physical therapy: A physical therapist can provide exercises and stretches to help improve the range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint. This is particularly helpful for shoulder pain caused by rotator cuff problems or other musculoskeletal conditions.
- Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Prescription pain medications may also be prescribed for more severe cases of shoulder pain.
- Injections: Corticosteroid injections can help reduce inflammation and relieve more severe cases of shoulder pain. This treatment option is particularly effective for shoulder pain caused by arthritis or other inflammatory conditions.
- Surgery: In cases where conservative measures are ineffective, surgery may be recommended. This can include arthroscopic surgery to repair or remove damaged tissue or total shoulder replacement for severe arthritis or other degenerative conditions.
- Alternative therapies: Some people find relief from shoulder pain through alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, or massage therapy. While the effectiveness of these treatments for shoulder pain is not well-established, some people may find them helpful in managing their symptoms.
It is advisable to seek medical attention from Stephen Fisher, M.D. if shoulder pain persists or worsens despite conservative measures.