Will I Need Surgery to Cure My Chronic Shoulder Pain?

Does it hurt to put dishes away in the cupboard or to slip your arm into a coat sleeve? If so, you might be one of the 70% of adults who suffer from shoulder pain at some point during their lives. Fortunately, there are several available treatment methods, many of which are non-surgical.

Here at the office of Jeremy Woodson, MD, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Dr. Woodson and our highly skilled team offer men, women, and children state-of-the-art evidence-based care for a wide variety of orthopedic issues. Treatment for shoulder pain is one example.

All about shoulder pain

Depending on the cause, shoulder discomfort can appear suddenly or build over time. Pain may range from annoying to agonizing. Shoulder issues are quite common due to its anatomy, and the risk of problems increases with age.

The shoulder's amazing ability to rotate 360 degrees allows you to reach in any direction. But this marvelous mobility is also its weakness. Strain to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues can result due to a shallow joint socket. Fractures, arthritis, nerve issues, rotator cuff injuries can also cause pain.

Non-surgical treatment options

The good news is that not all chronic shoulder injuries require surgery. Treatment begins with an evaluation by Dr. Woodson and his colleagues to determine the cause of the pain. This can include a health history along with an examination of the shoulder and range of motion. Imaging studies, like X-Rays or an MRI, may be ordered as well. 

Depending on the diagnosis there is a range of treatments available. Many people will experience improvement without surgery.

Movement modification

With this type of treatment, your activities will be evaluated. Rest and avoiding overexertion may be recommended during the healing process.

Physical therapy

Over a series of appointments, your physical therapist can teach stretching techniques and strengthening exercises to increase your flexibility and strength. They may also use heat and ice packs, massage, and/or low-voltage electrical nerve stimulation.

Temporary immobilization

In certain situations, using a sling to temporarily immobilize your arm can help encourage healing by reducing pressure on the shoulder.

Joint injections

An injection with steroids or anesthetics is another possible treatment to help decrease pain and inflammation while your shoulder heals.

Regenerative medicine

Cutting edge regenerative medicine treatments such as platelet-rich plasma injections or stem-cell therapy may be another option to help your shoulder recover and regenerate damaged tissue.

Treatment with surgery

While there are many non-invasive treatments used to improve their shoulder pain, there are some cases that will require more intervention. For example, individuals with a torn rotator cuff, advanced arthritis, or other severe shoulder damage may require surgery.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain but have been avoiding treatment due to fear of surgery, call our office today at 405-233-3602 to find the correct diagnosis and which treatment option is right for you.

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