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SHOULDER PAIN SYMPTOMS

7 in 10 people will experience shoulder pain symptoms in their lifetime. In addition, 1 of 3 patients over the age of 50 have a rotator cuff injury.

Shoulder Pain Overview

Introduction

Shoulder pain symptoms are a common complaint reported by patients to their physicians. Up to 70% of people will experience shoulder pain in their lifetime. Depending on the root cause, pain in the shoulder can come on suddenly or gradually. The pain can be a mild nuisance, or it can incapacitate you and make it hard for you to complete the simplest tasks.

In addition, shoulder pain symptoms may come from other areas in the body. For instance, certain types of arthritis, neck problems, or herniated discs can cause pain that radiates to your shoulder.

Oklahoma Shoulder Joint Pain Specialists

FACTORS WHICH CAN LEAD TO SHOULDER PAIN PROBLEMS

OVERUSE - INJURY - DISEASE

Pain in the shoulders can have many causes. Shoulder injury is a common source of the pain. For instance,  athletes may be especially prone to shoulder pain symptoms due to swinging and pulling motions of the shoulder joints. Over time, small injuries may buildup and might not properly heal resulting in shoulder overuse injuries.

The disease process of arthritis may also be a source of pain and discomfort in the shoulders. Whether the wear and tear of aging or the result of abnormal use of the shoulder – osteoarthritis often plays a role in the pain.

Shoulder Joint Pain Problems

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO CONSIDER FOR SHOULDERS

When you think about it, your shoulders are constantly in motion. Did you know that your shoulder joints have the largest range of motion of all joints in your body?

Without the use of your shoulders, it is very difficult to carry out many of your daily activities. Pain in your shoulders makes the simplest tasks extremely difficult. Tasks as simple as brushing your hair and getting dressed in the morning become a daily challenge.

If you are suffering from shoulder pain symptoms, you should consider an evaluation with our Oklahoma Pain Management Specialists. After an evaluation, you will learn about your shoulder treatment options including surgery-free interventions, medication optimization, as well as others.

To continue to learn more about shoulder pain symptoms, read more below.

SHOULDER PAIN EVALUATION:

ACCIDENT OR INJURY - ILLNESS - CHRONIC PAIN

It goes without saying that if your shoulder pain is interfering with your daily routine, it’s time to see a doctor. But, what are some other factors to look at in determining how serious the problem might be?

Answering yes to any of the questions below should prompt you to see an interventional joint specialist physician to evaluate your condition. It is important to find the source of your pain in order to effectively treat your condition. Getting an evaluation can also reduce the chances you cause further shoulder pain and injury from an unknown condition.

Joint Doctor - Shoulder Pain Evaluation

EVALUATION OF YOUR SHOULDER PAIN SYMPTOMS:

10 QUESTIONS TO DETERMINE WHEN YOU NEED A DOCTOR

1

Did the shoulder pain start after a trauma or accident such as a fall?

2

Do you have changes in the shape of your shoulder joint?

3

Do you have swelling, redness, restriction of shoulder movement?

4

Have you had weight loss, fever, or night sweats?

5

Has your pain become chronic (more than 3 months)?

6

Is your shoulder joint pain getting worse?

7

Would you describe pain in your shoulder as constant?

8

Do you have pain in your other joints?

9

Does your job require a lot of repetitive movements?

10

Are you using your shoulder frequently for work or during sports activities?

MOST COMMON SHOULDER PAIN DIAGNOSES

The most common causes of shoulder pain symptoms range from shoulder rotator cuff injury to tendonitis or bursitis. Among the most common sources of shoulder joint pain is arthritis, including both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

OSTEOARTHRITIS OF THE SHOULDER

One in three people over age 60 have shoulder osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis or OA of the shoulder is also known as degenerative joint disease of the shoulder. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint but commonly involves the shoulder. In shoulder OA, the cartilage and adjoining joint tissues slowly break down overtime. This can cause you to have pain and stiffness in your shoulder and results in a lack of mobility and a loss of function.

Osteoarthritis of your shoulder may affect either or both of the joints of the shoulder. The glenohumeral joint is the main joint of the shoulder and is what most people think of when considering shoulder pain. In addition, the acromioclavicular joint or AC joint is an active part of the shoulder and is often involved in shoulder pain symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Shoulder Joint Osteoarthritis Doctor

TWO MAJOR JOINTS EFFECTED BY SHOULDER OSTEOARTHRITIS

GLENOHUMERAL JOINT

The glenohumeral joint is the ‘ball and socket’ joint between your shoulder blade and your upper arm bone. The upper arm bone, known as the humerus, extends from your shoulder to your elbow. You’ve likely referred to this bone as your ‘funny bone’ before.

When arthritis affects your glenohumeral joint, you experience deep aching pain symptoms within the shoulder joint. You also experience limited range of motion and the shoulder may pop and click with movement.

SHOULDER AC JOINT

The acromioclavicular joint is more commonly known as the shoulder ‘AC joint’. The AC joint and adjoining ligaments connect your collarbone and the upper portion of the shoulder blade. This joint often suffers from osteoarthritis as you age and lose cartilage and space within the joint.

Osteoarthritis is more common in the AC joint than it is in the glenohumeral joint. Osteoarthritis of the AC joint can cause pain and swelling the front and top part of your shoulder. AC joint pain can make it difficult to reach overhead, perform swinging motions, or even buckle your seatbelt.

EVALUATING OSTEOARTHRITIS OF THE SHOULDER

The shoulder is among the most complex joints in your body and requires a significant degree of expertise in order to evaluate thoroughly. It is recommended that you have a specialist experienced in the treatment of shoulder pain conditions for diagnosis. An interventional joint specialist is capable of identifying the source of your osteoarthritis shoulder pain. In addition, orthopedic surgeons are also commonly called on to provide evaluation in preparation for more aggressive and invasive surgical treatment options for the minority of patients requiring this treatment.

Your joint specialist may order specialized imaging of your shoulder including X-rays, MRI, or an advanced method of high-frequency diagnostic ultrasound. If you have osteoarthritis, the X-rays would likely show bone changes, narrowing of the spaces in your joints, or bone spurs. In many patients, osteoarthritis coexists with injuries better evaluated by MRI and ultrasound which show damage to soft tissue like tendons.

Key Shoulder Osteoarthritis Points:

1

Identify any areas of swelling or point tenderness

2

Assessment of your rotator cuff muscle strength

3

Reviewing your shoulders range of motion and limitations

4

If you have any grinding, popping, clicking within the joint

5

Which positions cause shoulder pain in the joint and arm

6

Consideration of your treatment goals and planned activities

ROTATOR CUFF INJURY

Nearly two million people visit their physicians each year because of a problem with their rotator cuff.

Your rotator cuff is attached to the bones of your upper arm and is made of the tendons from muscles coming from the shoulder blade. The rotator cuff muscles and tendons enable the wide range of motion of the arms.

Due to the vast range of motion we enjoy in our arms and shoulders, the rotator cuff muscles and tendons are common sources of injury. As we age, it is easy to overload these structures resulting in injuries that add up over time. Ultimately, the shoulders begin to have pain and limitation of movement.

The good news is that there are a number of advanced techniques to evaluate, diagnose, and finally treat the painful, injured shoulder. Schedule an evaluation to work with our experience physician specialists and learn about the latest options for shoulder treatment today!

Rotator Cuff Shoulder Pain Specialists

CAUSES OF ROTATOR CUFF PAIN

Often, the first sign of a rotator cuff injury is the report of shoulder pain symptoms. This most commonly results from overuse, overloading, or a traumatic injury of the shoulder. Repeated lifting, throwing, or pulling can all injure the rotator cuff structures. In addition, car accidents or falls are a common source of shoulder pain symptoms. Many times, you may be unaware of the specific source of your shoulder pain or injury.

RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA) AND INFLAMMATORY ARTHRITIS

Rheumatoid arthritis, known as RA by many, is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects many joints in your body. Approximately 1.3 million adult Americans suffer from RA. The condition results from a disorder of the body’s autoimmune system. Essentially, the immune system attacks the joints of the body which results in pain, inflammation, and ultimately severe joint damage. RA commonly presents with joint swelling, multiple joint involvement, and there may be a strong family history of the condition. The development of shoulder pain symptoms is a commonly occurring feature of rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Shoulder Joint Pain Symptoms

SIGNS OF INFLAMMATORY ARTHRITIS OR RA

1

Does your shoulder appear red and inflamed?

2

Is the shoulder warm to the touch?

3

Is the shoulder tender and painful?

4

Do you see swelling and joint fullness?

SHOULDER TENDONITIS

When your rotator cuff tendons or bicep tendons suffer overuse or injury, a condition known as tendonitis may occur. Tendonitis, sometimes referred to as tendinopathy, results from the chronic injury of the connective tissue and fibers within the tendon. As the tissue becomes weakened and frayed, the tendon is prone to tearing. In addition, the tendon may become enlarged and begin to cause limitation of movement. This movement limiting condition is called shoulder impingement syndrome.

 

DIAGNOSING TENDONITIS IN YOUR SHOULDER

A Oklahoma joint pain specialist physician can provide a thorough evaluation of your condition and design a treatment protocol to get pain relief. The physicians at Elite Pain & Health have advanced training and years of experience in addressing your shoulder pain symptoms. State-of-the-art techniques of diagnostic high-frequency ultrasound allow our physician specialists the most advanced examination of tendons. Finding shoulder tissue damage that is smaller than the thickness of a penny is possible with our advanced techniques.

In addition to ultrasound evaluation of your shoulder, your joint pain specialist may additionally order an MRI to see deep into the shoulder joint. Sometimes, it is necessary to also use a contrast dye in conjunction with an MRI – which is referred to as an MRA or arthrogram.

SHOULDER BURSITIS PAIN

BURSITIS BACKGROUND

The small, thin cushions between your tendons and muscles are called bursa and reduce friction, particularly around joints. When you have increased friction from shoulder overuse or injury, you may develop extra fluid or inflammation in the shoulder bursa. When this causes significant pain, it is referred to as shoulder bursitis. This condition is common in those with chronic shoulder pain symptoms.

RISKS FACTORS & CAUSES

Bursitis is more common as we age. Repetitive motions also tend to put a great deal of pressure on the bursa of the shoulder joint. Mopping a floor, throwing a ball, and even playing an instrument are examples of activities that can inflame the bursae of the shoulder.

Inflammatory illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, infection, diabetes, and gout can increase your risk of developing bursitis in your shoulder.

TREATMENTS FOR SHOULDER PAIN

Traditionally, shoulder pain has been treated by orthopedic surgeons with either blind injections of steroids or when this fails, invasive surgery.  Modern advanced joint pain specialists provide interventional orthopedic procedures well beyond these traditional treatments. There is a growing body of literature and techniques enabling the surgery-free treatment of shoulder joint pain symptoms. These more recently developed techniques, often referred to as regenerative medicine, have helped thousands of patients to post-pone or avoid surgery.

Your Oklahoma joint pain specialist may recommend the treatments below depending on your shoulder pain diagnosis:

SHOULDER PAIN TREATMENTS

Steroid injection (only advanced image guided techniques recommended)
Orthobiologic interventional orthopedic treatments (advanced image guided)
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments (advanced image guided)
Physical and/or Physiotherapy (combined with interventions)
Medication optimization (supplements, anti-inflammatories, etc.)
Surgery is for severe joint injury or complete tears

CONCLUSION

If you experience shoulder pain symptoms, you should seek an experienced Oklahoma joint pain specialist physician. Your shoulder pain will then be evaluated, diagnosed,  and an effective treatment plan developed. It is also a good idea to consider surgery-free shoulder treatments whenever possible due to the challenges of recovering from shoulder surgery.

The Oklahoma Pain Management Specialists at Elite Pain & Health have treated countless patients with shoulder pain. We’re dedicated to offering you the most complete pain solutions to care for your shoulder pain symptoms. We want to ensure that you have the best chance to achieve the quality of life you deserve. Contact us and schedule an appointment today.

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