Why Is Shoulder Pain Common?
According to data from Statista, in 2018, 24% of American adults had been diagnosed with a pain condition. Shoulder issues are common causes of such pain. Shoulder pain can be experienced due to many factors like accidents and conditions such as arthritis or referred pain.
Surprisingly, shoulder problems are not necessarily caused by a significant impact, and all age demographics are susceptible. Almost all individuals aged between 18 and 88 will report a shoulder problem at least once in their life.
The high prevalence of shoulder injuries is attributed to their unique and complex structure. Though shoulders are the joints with the highest range of motion, they are also the least stable, which is why strains, repetitive injuries, and aging are common shoulder issues reported by patients.
What Surgical Treatments Help with Shoulder Pain?
Shoulder injuries can start mildly and turn into something severe. Fortunately, if addressed early on, shoulder injuries are highly treatable. In some cases, surgery may be required. These are some of the more common shoulder surgeries an orthopedist may recommend:
- Total Shoulder Replacement
- Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement
- Shoulder Decompression
- Shoulder Arthroscopy
- Labral Repair
- Rotator Cuff Surgery
What Are the Best Ways to Prevent Shoulder Injury?
Whether you are picking up, throwing, pulling, or reaching out for something, your shoulders play an active role in your daily life and are used just about every time you move. Due to your shoulders' wide range of motion, they are more susceptible to injuries than your other joints.
When your shoulder is injured, performing simple tasks such as raising your hand or moving your computer mouse can feel like an impossible task due to a great deal of pain you may experience. Considering your shoulders' crucial role in daily life activities along with their susceptibility to injuries, you may consider the following preventive care tips to help maintain your shoulders in tip-top shape. Your doctor may also recommend these suggestions as post-injury shoulder care.
Practice Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is a treatment option often associated with restoring body functionality after injuries. However, the role it plays in such recoveries can also strengthen shoulders to prevent injuries. To do such shoulder stretching and strengthening exercises, you only need to dedicate a little time and effort as no heavy equipment is required.
Before performing shoulder stretches, touch base with your doctor or a physical therapist to make sure you do them correctly. Be sure you warm up your shoulders to ensure the muscles and joints are ready for the workout. Doing such stretches will benefit your shoulders in the following ways:
- Improve blood circulation
- Naturally, reduce inflammation in the shoulder
- Help to reduce tension
- Increase your shoulders’ range of motion
Exercise Your Shoulders to Build Muscle
While physical therapy helps maintain your shoulder, exercising can help to reduce susceptibility to injuries. Shoulder strengthening exercises make your shoulders more muscular. This means arm movements will be more effortless, and the toll from performing various actions will reduce the burden on your shoulders. Consequentially, your shoulders will be less susceptible to injuries.
As with general body health, proper dieting and nutrition are some of the best ways to protect your shoulder from injuries. The first step is eliminating or reducing the intake of foods that may trigger or aid inflammation, which leads to pain. Such foods include sugar, gluten, alcohol, and saturated fats.
This should be accompanied by increasing your intake of anti-inflammatory and vitamin C-rich foods. Vitamin C helps in the formation of collagen, a connective tissue that helps the body repair itself. Some examples of vitamin C-rich foods to include in your diet are:
- Citrus fruits
- Bell peppers
- Brussel sprouts
Adding these vitamin c-rich foods to your diet can help to ensure that your shoulders are best prepared to handle strains and inflammation.
Maintain Upright Posture
Poor posture is commonly associated with back pain. However, it is also a significant cause of tension in the shoulders. When your posture changes, it can affect the way your body moves, which can affect your shoulders in the following ways:
- The position of the shoulder blade
- Available space for shoulder movement
- The efficiency of the shoulder muscles
- Muscle coordination
It is helpful to understand that there are two types of posture, depending on the activity you are performing:
How you position your body while in motion is referred to as dynamic posture. Such movement includes walking, running, or bending.
Contrastingly, static posture refers to how you position your body when seated, lying down, or standing.
Good posture begins with positioning your spine correctly. Ensure that your head is positioned above your shoulders, which should be over the hips.
To demonstrate how posture can affect your shoulders and result in pain, try the following test. While seated in a slouched position, try raising your arm as high as possible. You will notice some strain and tightness as you lift your hand. Repeat the same process while seated in your best posture. You will see an increased range of motion that comes with more ease. So, how can you improve your posture?
How Can You Tell if You Have a Shoulder Injury?
Except for injuries caused by sudden impact, shoulder injuries often manifest gradually. At first, you may feel minor discomfort and pain, which is easy to ignore. However, without early treatment, such minor issues can result in serious shoulder complications.
As such, it is crucial to know the signs of a shoulder injury and act as soon as you notice them. Such signs include:
- Feelings of weakness in the shoulder or inability to do things you usually manage
- Pain, stiffness, or inability to move the shoulder normally
- Having the sensation that your shoulder might pop out of its socket
If you become aware of such symptoms early on, home-based treatments such as rest, ice, and a sling can help relieve the problem. However, if the pain persists, seek professional assistance from an experienced orthopedic doctor.
What Are Common Causes of Shoulder Injuries?
A wide range of factors can cause shoulder injuries. Some potential risk factors include genetics, smoking, and alcohol use. Additionally:
Age increases the risk of suffering from shoulder pain, even without injury or illness. According to the Future of Medicine, 21% of older adults have shoulder disorders. Dealing with chronic pain also increases the risk of disability and depression.
In younger adults, shoulder pain is the most common cause of trauma from an accident or a sporting mishap. Such trauma can lead to a wide range of shoulder injuries, such as:
DislocationWhen the shoulder is rotated too far or pulled back with too much force, it can be dislocated. Dislocation can cause the top part of the arm to dislodge from the socket resulting in weakness and pain. Dislocated shoulders are treated by taking pain relievers and resting. However, if the dislocation is severe, your doctor may recommend minimally invasive surgery.
This injury affects the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, where the shoulder blade and collar bone come together.
FractureIf your hit forcefully or fall, one of the bones in the shoulder area can crack or break. The humerus and collarbone are the most susceptible to fractures. Such injuries are excruciating and may result in loss of mobility of the arm.
Cartilage TearRepeating similar motions for an extended period can wear out the cartilage's rubbery padding covering your shoulder joint.
Frozen ShoulderIn some cases, adhesions may accumulate in the shoulder, thus limiting your range of motion. When severe, this can result in a frozen shoulder. Treatment for frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, can include motion exercises, a numbing medication, corticosteroids, and, at times, arthroscopic surgery.
Rotator Cuff Tear
Within the shoulder is a group of muscles and tendons that help you hold your arms in position or lift them, called the rotator cuff. As you age, it experiences wear and tear. It can also be injured by overusing or impact. In most cases, rotator cuff injuries can heal with home-based care. However, it may require a procedure called shoulder arthroscopy.
Shoulder BursitisRepeating similar motions can cause the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that cushions the joint, to become swollen. Bursitis is associated with pain when moving the shoulder. Depending on the severity, treatment for bursitis may require minimally invasive surgery.
Shoulder ImpingementThis condition refers to when tendons in the rotator cuff are caught between the shoulder's bones. It often occurs after lifting the arms above the head many times and results in pain and swelling. Treatment for impingement can involve acromioplasty and subacromial decompression.
Shoulder Injuries and Workers Comp
Depending on the requirements of your job, you may be at greater risk of sustaining a shoulder injury. As with slip and fall accidents and other workplace hazards, you may qualify for a workers' compensation settlement.
Even if the injury is not permanent, you may still be eligible. Such settlements vary and are often determined by:
- The severity of the injury
- Average weekly wage
- Time lost from work
- Structure of the settlement
Schedule A Consultation for Your Shoulder Pain with Our Independent Orthopedic Physicians
Your shoulders play an essential role in your daily life. Whether you are driving, picking up the phone, or embracing your loved ones, you rely on having healthy shoulders. Though most injuries start as mild, they may become aggravated, causing significant pain, and even lead to disability. If you have shoulder pain and discomfort that persists after trying home-based treatments, seek a professional assessment from one of our orthopedic surgeons at Capital Surgical Associates. They have a passion for helping others and a combined 50+ years of orthopedic excellence dedicated to people in the Boise area. Each one is also board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.
Jeffrey Hessing, MD
Dr. Hessing concentrates on minimally invasive orthopedic shoulder surgery.
Timothy Doerr, MD
Dr. Doerr concentrates on minimally invasive orthopedic and spine surgeries for better, faster, and healthier patient outcomes.
Ryan Applonie, DO
Dr. Applonie’s practice concentrates on orthopedic shoulder and elbow surgery. He performs Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement, Total Shoulder Replacement, Rotator Cuff Injuries, Shoulder Arthroscopy, Total Elbows, Ulnar Nerve Decompression procedures, and other surgical and non-surgical shoulder pain complications.
We offer solutions to acute injury or illness and chronic issues through orthopedic and general surgery specialties. Each of our patients is treated with dignity and respect. Our surgical experience ensures excellent outcomes in a caring and friendly environment with an objective to get each of our patients back to normal.
Who Is Capital Surgical Associates?
Dr. Jeffrey Hessing, Dr. Timothy Doerr, and Dr. Ryan Applonie (of Orthopedic Associates) merged their orthopedic surgical practices with Dr. Steven Williams (of General Surgery Specialists) to form Capital Surgical Associates. Their practice encapsulates a multi-specialty group of independent surgeons.
Capital Surgical Associates believes their patients should have medical treatment choices and not feel pressured by large hospitals with huge overhead. They formed to provide the highest quality surgical care at the lowest possible price. Combining their surgical specialties has ensured their patients receive the most personalized and high-value care possible.
If you are frustrated with being asked to take a number, only to see a medical provider who is not your general doctor, contact Capital Surgical Associates. You will be glad you did.
Reach out to us today to get rid of pain and restore the range of motion of your shoulder.