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Shoulder Pain Demystified: When to Seek Help and Treatment Options

Shoulder Pain Demystified: When to Seek Help and Treatment Options
Shoulder Pain Demystified: When to Seek Help and Treatment Options

Your shoulder is an incredibly versatile joint, enabling the widest range of motion among all your joints. However, when this joint experiences pain, it can significantly impede even the simplest tasks. If you're experiencing shoulder pain, it's crucial to recognize when to seek treatment to restore mobility and relieve discomfort.

While mild shoulder pain may subside with time or self-administered conservative treatments, persistent and severe shoulder pain warrants examination by a medical professional.

If you experience any of these signs, consult an orthopedic physician.

  • Persistent Pain: If your pain doesn’t go away after a few days and after you have implemented self-care treatments, this may indicate something worse. Schedule an appointment with your orthopedic physician as soon as possible.
  • Limited Mobility: When your pain is so severe that it is impacting the mobility of your shoulder joint, you should seek professional treatment.
  • Pain following an Injury: If you have suffered from an overuse injury or a sudden hit to your shoulder joint followed by intense pain, you should seek medical attention immediately to prevent further complications.
  • Pain accompanied by redness, warmth, or inflammation: Inflammation, redness, and warmth are all indicators of infection. If you notice any of these symptoms in addition to your shoulder pain, contact your doctor immediately.

Depending on the cause of your shoulder pain, treatment will vary. Here are some of the most common treatment options available to treat shoulder pain:

  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is an excellent tool to help reduce your shoulder pain. Through targeted exercises and stretches, you will work with your physical therapist to regain strength and mobility in your shoulder joint.
  • Medications: Medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be extremely effective at reducing inflammation in your shoulder joint and alleviating any associated pain. Depending on the severity of your pain, your physician may prescribe medications or simply recommend over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen.
  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections are an excellent way to relieve shoulder pain because they are injected directly into the joint. Corticosteroids are a type of anti-inflammatory medication that will work to alleviate your shoulder pain.
  • Surgery: In severe cases of shoulder pain where the shoulder hasn’t responded to any conservative treatments, surgery may be indicated. Shoulder replacement and rotator cuff repair are two common surgeries used to treat shoulder pain.

By monitoring your shoulder joint and staying attentive to your pain, you can proactively address any worsening conditions. Don't allow shoulder pain to dominate your life—seek treatment from a shoulder expert with Dr. Shrouder-Henry.

AUTHOR: Jason Shrouder-Henry MD, MBA is a Board Certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder throughout Chicagoland.