Your shoulders and elbows are two of the most mobile joints in the body. As a result, they are prone to wear and tear (degenerative) conditions and the effects of traumatic physical injuries. An experienced La Jolla, CA orthopedic shoulder & elbow surgeon can diagnose and treat your condition before it worsens, leading to a reduced range of motion, and severe symptoms such as inflammation.
Below are a few things you should remember about shoulder and elbow pain.
Common causes of elbow and shoulder pain
Your elbow pain and discomfort may be due to tennis elbow, bursitis, golfer’s elbow, cubital tunnel syndrome, fractures, or osteoarthritis.
For example, tennis elbow, also called lateral epicondylitis, is associated with the irritation and inflammation of the elbow tendons due to overuse of the forearm muscles. The condition derives its name from the fact that it commonly affects tennis players.
A golfer’s elbow is a painful condition that affects the bony bump on the elbow’s inner side. The condition is popular among golfers and baseball pitchers.
On the other hand, shoulder pain is highly likely due to arthritis, tendonitis, impingement syndrome, or rotator cuff tears.
For instance, the rotator cuff is a collection of muscles and tendons in the shoulder joint. It provides stability to the glenohumeral joint, facilitating a range of motions for your upper extremity.
The impingement shoulder, also called swimmer’s shoulder, results when the shoulder blade’s top outer edge rubs against the underneath rotator cuff.
Diagnosis of elbow and shoulder pain
When you go for treatment, your doctor will take you through comprehensive physical examinations and diagnostic tests to determine the specific cause of your pain and discomfort in your shoulder or elbow.
Your doctor can conduct a nerve conduction test or take x-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
Also called a nerve conduction velocity test, a nerve conduction study measures how fast and well the electrical signals or impulse travels through the body’s nerves.
Treatments for shoulder and elbow pain
Usually, especially if your shoulder or elbow pain is not severe, your upper extremity specialist will recommend non-invasive treatments to provide the desired level of relief against pain radiating from your shoulder and elbow.
These treatments may include resting, the use of braces for immobilizing your shoulder and elbow, and injections for relieving inflammation.
A therapy like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection can also help relieve shoulder and elbow pain. PRP injections introduce proteins into the elbow and shoulder that can help promote the healing and regeneration of damaged tissues.
Other treatments that can help treat a condition affecting your shoulder are arthroscopic repair of the torn rotator cuff and total shoulder replacement.
Shoulder replacement removes affected tissues and replaces them with implants or artificial parts.
An invasive procedure can help repair your elbow if conservative and minimally invasive treatments do not deliver desired pain relief and improve function.
Always put more effort every day into keeping your shoulder and elbow healthy. That will require you to avoid subjecting your shoulder and elbow to repetitive movements and ensure you strengthen them through exercises.
Contact Upper Extremity Specialists today to schedule a consultation and learn more about conditions affecting elbow and shoulder and their treatments.