Understanding Shoulder Injuries
When it comes to the human body, the shoulder is one of the most mobile parts. You use your shoulders every day, for both menial tasks (such as reaching for things) and extensive tasks (such as carrying a heavy load). However, because of how useful the increased maneuverability of the shoulder joint is, it is a part of the body that receives greater stress than many other joints.
Because of the additional stress, the shoulder is one of the most common areas where you might suffer pain or an injury. Many types of shoulder injuries can occur, and the severity of them is specific to each injury.
Rather than guessing what sort of shoulder pain or injury you might be suffering from, you should reach out to a medical professional to get an official diagnosis.
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SymptomsIf you’re suffering from shoulder pain or a shoulder injury, the pain will radiate out from your shoulder joint or the surrounding connected muscles. This means that you might feel pain in your tendons, ligaments, and surrounding muscles. Additionally, the pain in your shoulder will likely increase when you use your arm or shoulder, so if you find that activities are increasing the pain, you might be suffering from a major type of injury.
Types of Shoulder Injuries
There are several types of shoulder injuries, and all of them have the potential to be severe. Some of them include:
Rotator Cuff Tears
A common shoulder injury is the rotator cuff tear. This happens when a sudden injury to the area, or increased movement of the joint, causes wear and tear that leads to pain. A tear in the rotator cuff can result in permanent motion loss or even a permanent loss of strength in the area. It can also result in deterioration of the surrounding muscles, tendons, and joints. To prevent long-term damage, check with a medical professional as soon as you suspect you might have suffered this injury.
Shoulder instability is a specific shoulder injury that, when it happens, can result in damage to other areas of the body. Shoulder instability can cause other damage that can lead to arthritis and other long-term pain ailments. Physical therapy can help with treating shoulder instability, but particularly severe injuries may require surgery.
Injuries to the AC Joint
If you happen to sprain your AC joint (or if you happen to suffer from an AC joint separation), you may find yourself with limited motion and extreme pain. This is a specific type of injury that typically does not require surgery, and if you stick with your assigned treatment plan, you are much more likely to restore full maneuverability.
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Many other types of shoulder injuries can occur. Even if you’re not sure what shoulder injury you might have, being seen by a medical professional can give you your answer.
When it comes to shoulder injuries, many of them can be treated with physical therapy, icing the affected area, stretching, taking frequent breaks, and even surgery or injections (if the injury is particularly severe).
Shoulder Pain/Injury FAQs
One of the most common causes of shoulder pain is when the rotator cuff tendons become trapped under the shoulder’s bony area. As a result, inflammation or damage to the tendons occurs. This condition is called rotator cuff impingement. Other common causes of shoulder
pain include shoulder bursitis, rotator cuff tears, rotator cuff tendonitis, arthritis, frozen shoulder, labrum tears and shoulder dislocation.
When shoulder pain results from a traumatic injury such as a fall, you should seek medical care from an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible. Seek emergency care if you can’t move your arm, your shoulder or arm is severely swollen or misshapen, your shoulder is cold or hot to the touch, or you have a pins and needles sensation or no feeling in the affected arm or shoulder.
There are several potential causes of shoulder pain in the absence of a traumatic injury. Bone spurs, bursitis, arthritis, frozen shoulder, rotator cuff tendonitis, rotator cuff impingement and labral tears can all result from overuse. Sometimes adjacent muscles or tendons such as the biceps tendon can cause pain in the shoulder area. Lastly, referred pain from another area of the body such as the neck or chest should be considered as a source of non-traumatic shoulder pain. Referred pain to the shoulder from another part of the body typically does not worsen with shoulder movement.
Surgery may be ultimately be required for painful shoulder conditions, however your orthopedic surgeon may try non-surgical measures first. This will depend on the type and severity of the condition causing the pain, your medical history, diagnostic test results, and other factors. Your doctor may order a modification in activity, a change in activity and lifestyle, pain medication, cortisone injections, physical therapy, or other non-surgical treatments. Surgery may be the initial treatment of choice for severe injuries, or those that haven’t responded to less invasive interventions.
If you are suffering from shoulder pain – any of the ones mentioned here or otherwise – then reach out to our orthopedic specialists today. Our team of orthopedists are available to help in Hoboken, Jersey City, and the surrounding areas in all of Hudson County. Let’s get your shoulder pain or shoulder injury under control; call us today!
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