The shoulder is a large and complex joint – the intricate system of bone, muscle, connective tissue, and cartilage allow the arm to move in all directions and perform various functions necessary for daily living, work, and leisure activities.
Common Shoulder Problems
- Arthritis (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis) – Osteoarthritis and the resulting pain is due to the bone on bone friction caused by the loss of the cushion and fluids between the bones and around the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the immune system attacking its own tissues, resulting in the similar wear and tear to the joint.
- Bursitis and tendonitis – Inflammation that affects the tendons (tendonitis) or the bursa (bursitis) can cause pain and stiffness.
- Dislocation – During a dislocation, the humerus or one of the other bones associated with the shoulder joint, slips out of position. Dislocations cause pain and impair movement.
- Rotator cuff tears – Rotator cuff tears result from either sudden injury or long-term repetitive use and affect the tendons and muscles that surround the top of the arm bone called the humerus.
- Inflammation – Often referred to as “frozen shoulder”, inflammation can lead to pain and stiffness, limiting mobility and function.
- There are a variety of diagnostic testing which can be done to determine cause of shoulder pain, weakness, or stiffness such as MRI scans, X-ray, and CT scans.
Common treatment options for shoulder diseases, conditions, and disorders include:
- Surgery – Surgical shoulder repair is needed when the shoulder has suffered severe or traumatic injury and cannot properly heal itself or when non-surgical treatment options have been tried and failed. Surgical shoulder repair includes resurfacing, joint replacement, and minimally invasive procedures.
- Physical Therapy – A licensed physical therapist is specially trained to manipulate the joint and its components to increase movement, flexibility, and decrease pain.
- Injections – Injections of corticosteroid into the shoulder work to reduce the inflammation associated with inflammatory conditions, like bursitis or tendonitis and arthritis. The effects of an injection can provide several weeks of relief.
- Pain Relievers – A physician may prescribe over the counter pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs or a prescription pain medication.
- Self-care – Rest, ice, compression, and elevation and over the counter medications.
Shoulder arthroscopy is a surgical procedure performed by a skilled, board-certified orthopedic surgeon. The surgery involves the repair of the torn or stretched ligaments.
Shoulder arthroscopy can be done arthroscopically, also called minimally invasive, allowing the surgeon to access the joint and surrounding tissue and make necessary repairs through several small incisions versus a traditional surgery which would include a large incision. The benefits are great and include faster healing times and less risk of infection or complications.