Non-Surgical Treatments for Shoulder Injuries
The shoulder joint is known for its extensive range of motion, allowing the arm to move in various directions. However, this increased mobility also makes it more susceptible to injuries.
When it comes to treating shoulder conditions and injuries, Dr. Joseph, an orthopaedic shoulder specialist at Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery, will recommend non-surgical options as the first line of treatment whenever possible. These methods can be highly effective in reducing pain, improving function, and allowing you to return to your favorite sports or outdoor adventures.
What Causes Shoulder Pain?
Shoulder pain can be caused by a variety of factors, such as injury, overuse, repetitive movements, and wear and tear from aging. Some of the shoulder conditions and injuries Dr. Joseph frequently sees include:
Rotator cuff injuries: Tears or inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons and muscles
Clavicle fractures: Break in the clavicle bone, which runs from the shoulder to the chest; fractures can also occur in the humerus and scapula bones
Shoulder Impingement: Compression of the tendons or bursa in the shoulder
Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac in the shoulder
Shoulder separations: Sprains or tears of the acromioclavicular joint (AC) ligaments
Dislocated shoulders: Displacement of the upper arm bone out of the socket
Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis): Thickening bands of tissue in the shoulder capsule
Shoulder arthritis: Degeneration of the cartilage in the shoulder joint
Shoulder labrum tears: Tears in the cartilage ring that surrounds the shoulder joint
What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Shoulder Issues?
The symptoms of shoulder injuries can vary based on the underlying cause, how it developed (gradual or sudden), and how severe it is. Symptoms may include:
Pain in the shoulder joint, especially when lifting, lowering, and reaching up high or behind you
Pain when lying or trying to sleep on the affected shoulder
Sharp pain if following an acute injury
Grinding or popping noise when moving the shoulder
Limited range of motion
Swelling, bruising, or tenderness
Tingling or numbness in the shoulder, arm, or hand
Visible dislocation or deformity
Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Shoulder Pain
When you meet with Dr. Joseph, the first step will be to accurately diagnose the underlying cause of your shoulder pain through a combination of your medical history, an in-depth discussion of your symptoms or injury, a physical examination, and imaging tests if required.
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, Dr. Joseph will work closely with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and goals. This may include:
Rest: Resting the shoulder and avoiding activities that aggravate the pain
Ice: Icing to reduce swelling and inflammation
Physical therapy: PT is often recommended to reduce stiffness, increase strength, improve flexibility, regain full range of motion, and reduce your risk of future injuries
Immobilization: Sling to immobilize the arm and shoulder
Medications: Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs to manage pain and reduce inflammation
Steroid injection: Cortisone injections can help reduce inflammation and pain control
Closed reduction: A non-surgical procedure to reposition a dislocated shoulder
Dr. Joseph will closely monitor your progress and adjust the treatment plan as needed to ensure the best possible outcome. Although many people fully recover from shoulder injuries with conservative methods, not every issue can be treated non-surgically. If you've suffered a displaced fracture or severe ligament tear or aren't responding to other less invasive treatments, Dr. Joseph may recommend surgery to help you regain full shoulder function.
Contact Vail and Summit County's Orthopaedic Shoulder Specialist
Shoulder pain can be incredibly debilitating, making it difficult to perform even the most basic daily activities. If you've recently injured your shoulder or have been dealing with chronic shoulder pain, contact Dr. Joseph and his team at Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery today.
Dr. Joseph doesn't just treat your symptoms; he gets to the root of your pain with an accurate diagnosis. He then works with you to develop the least-invasive treatment plan that gets you back in the game or to your favorite activities as quickly as possible.
Call (970) 476-7220 to schedule an appointment in Vail, Edwards, or Frisco! You can also request a consultation using Team Joseph's online form.