3 min read

Getting Into Shoulder Trouble?

The shoulder is a complex, flexible joint that allows the arm to move in various directions. For persons involved in physical work or athletes, shoulder mechanics are crucial for performance. That said, shoulder injuries and conditions are quite common. The pain that follows can be chronic and affect the quality of life. There are some steps to get out of shoulder trouble with simple pain management.

What’s causing my shoulder pain?

First, a patient with shoulder pain should understand what’s happening to the joint. At the core, the shoulder has a ball-and-socket joint, where the end of the humerus locks into the glenoid socket. Covering this joint is a system of muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. Together, these provide stability and range of motion. Based on several factors like overuse, poor posture, injury, or osteoarthritis, parts of the shoulder can be damaged. These include sprains, strains, rotator cuff tears, shoulder fractures, and dislocations. While in some cases, surgery is unavoidable, these 3 pain management options can help.

1. Consider steroid injections

Steroid injections are non-invasive steps a doctor can take to relieve pain. If the shoulder is not in immediate danger, a steroid shot reduces the inflammation, swelling, and pain. The doctor will inject a corticosteroid and anesthetic in a short medical procedure. After a few days, the steroid takes effect. Corticosteroids can last for several months and can bring more than 50% relief. Injections could even be combined with other non-surgical treatments. Most doctors recommend only 2-3 shots per year to avoid dependence or shoulder damage.

2. Try physical therapy

The concept of physical therapy has been around since the 1800s. A physical therapist’s goal is to improve shoulder pain and function. This expert will create a plan to help with flexibility and strength. Treatment includes exercise, massage therapy, hot and cold therapy, and stretching. Generally, studies show physical therapy can significantly improve pain safely while decreasing patient costs.

3. Lifestyle changes work

While unorthodox, weight, diet, increased exercise, and stopping harmful activities can help with shoulder pain. Diet and exercise, for instance, can help with blood pressure, cholesterol, and improved metabolism. These can reduce the inflammation around the shoulder and accelerate healing. Studies show that smoking increases the chances of rotator cuff tears. Furthermore, continued smoking while injured slows the healing process by damaging blood vessels. Get lifestyle habits under control and enjoy an improvement in shoulder pain.

Try pain management before surgery

Doctors encourage non-surgical pain management for all injuries, including the shoulder. With the right rest, medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes, shoulder pain can be reduced. However, there are some cases where surgery is needed. Minimally invasive techniques can find and correct shoulder issues with little downtime. Speak with a doctor today about treatment options for any nagging shoulder issues.