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Other Shoulder Conditions

Rheumatoid arthritis shoulder

Other common shoulder problems include sprains, strains and bursitis

Shoulder arthritis, rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder and fractures are among the most frequent shoulder injuries that patients seek professional treatment for. However, there are many other common shoulder problems, including rotator cuff strains and sprains, bursitis and dislocation. The most minor shoulder problems often heal on their own without the need for medical attention, but other issues can worsen if they don’t receive proper care.

This is why most doctors advise caution and a professional diagnosis for any shoulder pain or mobility problems that don’t improve in a short period of time. To help you better understand the potential causes for these common shoulder problems and how they are treated, we’re happy to share the following guide. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our representatives if you’d like to learn more or have any questions.

Causes and types of other common shoulder problems

The joints in our body have to be flexible enough to enable movement but strong enough to withstand large amounts of stress. This combination of mobility and heavy loads, mean that joint injuries are very common — and this certainly includes the shoulder. Every time we lift a heavy object, swing a racquet or club or perform repetitive motions at work, we’re putting some amount of stress on the shoulder.

Whether due to an acute injury, chronic stress or age-related breakdown, common shoulder problems that result in pain and other symptoms can include the following:

  • Rotator cuff strains and sprains — The rotator cuff is a collection of four muscles and tendons that attach the arm into the shoulder socket and allow for movement. This soft tissue can very easily become strained or sprained due to an acute injury or overuse. Not treating these minor injuries can potentially lead to chronic tendinitis or more serious tears.
  • Shoulder dislocation or detachment — Falling from a certain angle or receiving a strong pull on the arm can cause the upper arm to become dislocated from the shoulder socket. In more severe cases, the rotator cuff tendons can become completely detached from the shoulder.
  • Shoulder impingement — Repetitive or unnatural motions in the shoulder may cause the soft tissue of the rotator cuff to become trapped in the shoulder blade. The result can be pain, swelling and lost range of motion.
  • Bursitis of the shoulder — The bursae are fluid-filled sacs in our joints that help keep cartilage lubricated. Certain strenuous arm movements and injuries can irritate the shoulder bursae and cause pain and inflammation known as bursitis.

Symptoms of shoulder injuries

Specific symptoms will vary depending on which common shoulder problem is present, although many of these issues share symptoms. These include:

  • Localized pain and inflammation, both at rest and while moving
  • Inability to move your shoulder or restricted range of motion
  • Visible swelling
  • Cracks, pops and grinding sensations

Patients should never self-diagnose and treat a persistent shoulder problem. To avoid worsening an injury or it not healing correctly, always see a qualified medical professional.

Diagnosing common shoulder problems

When meeting with a doctor to diagnose shoulder pain and other symptoms, patients should come prepared to fully discuss symptoms, daily activities and causes or triggers for problems. Physicians should perform a review of medical history and ask if any family members have a history of shoulder problems.

Next, he or she will perform a physical examination that includes testing range of motion, palpating the shoulder to identify sources of pain. Diagnostic imagery, including X-ray, MRI or CT scan may be required to confirm a specific diagnosis.

Once a diagnosis has been completed, doctors and patients can work together to develop an effective treatment plan.

Conservative treatment helps most common shoulder problems

For most common shoulder problems such as strains, sprains and bursitis, a course of basic conservative treatments, including rest, over-the-counter medication and hot and/or cold compression therapy can help manage symptoms while the injury heals.

For more serious problems or if symptoms don’t improve in a short period of time, involved conservative treatments such as the following can be recommended by doctors:

  • Physical therapy — Working with a therapist can help to strengthen the shoulder and improve functional mobility, working to both manage symptoms and prevent future injury.
  • Therapeutic injections — If there is serious inflammation in the shoulder due to a condition like bursitis, an injection of a corticosteroid can help reduce pain and swelling for weeks at a time. This can be particularly helpful when symptoms are too severe to complete a physical therapy program.

Most common shoulder problems don’t require surgery but it may be required for some conditions or serious injuries such as a detached shoulder.

Does surgery ever become an option for common shoulder injuries and conditions?

Surgical procedures for the shoulder range from procedures to remove a small amount of damaged tissue to full shoulder replacements. Due to advances in medical technology and surgical technique, shoulder surgeries can very often be performed on a minimally invasive outpatient basis. This can help shorten the recovery time and allow patients to return home on the same day of surgery.

Get expert shoulder help from USA Spine Care 

If you are dealing with any number of common shoulder problems, the team at USA Spine Care is here to provide assistance. Contact us today and we’ll help you learn more about our highly skilled clinical team, our state-of-the-art facilities and our wide assortment of therapeutic options to relieve shoulder pain and restore your quality of life.

Call toll free 1- 866-249-1627.

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