Open Accessibility Menu

Got Shoulder Pain?

Got Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain can be one of the most irritating pains to the body. Getting comfortable seems impossible and no amount of adjusting or rolling your shoulders can subside the agony. The pain can feel dull and ache deep within your shoulder. Sleeping, taking long car rides, working out, sitting at your desk and even combing your hair can become bothersome tasks that were once simple. This type of shoulder pain could be rotator cuff damage.

Causes and risk factors

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that protect the shoulder joint and keeps your upper arm bone in place within the socket. When those muscles become injured, experience progressive degeneration or the tendon tissue just wears and tears, shoulder movement can become limited and often unbearable.

Rotator cuff injuries are extremely common and only increase with age. Constant overhead activity can cause this damage, such as working out, painting, carpentry, etc. Usually, people older than 60 are more inclined to experience this injury.

When to see a doctor

With any shoulder pain, your primary care physician should be consulted, however, constant pain, an injury or weakness in the area should be treated by an orthopedic surgeon.

Dr. Jeffrey Witty, an orthopedic surgeon with North Oaks Orthopaedic Specialty Center, specializes in sports medicine, arthroscopy and often treats rotator cuff injuries.

“Shoulder pain is a common problem, but not all pain is necessarily dangerous. Arthritis, inflammation and bursitis are issues that can be treated with therapy, general stretching and icing. However, concern arises if there is a loss of shoulder motion, weakness or a noticeable lack of endurance in the area. It never hurts to ice an injury to reduce inflammation, but if the discomfort persists or even if you are just unsure, you should see an orthopedic specialist,” expressed Witty.

Preventing rotator cuff damage

Daily shoulder strengthening exercises are extremely beneficial. Exercising the chest, shoulder, upper arm, improving one’s posture and strengthening the muscles around the shoulder blade will improve shoulder function. A physical therapist or doctor can provide these simple exercises to protect your shoulder.

Rotator cuff repair

Although no one is jumping to have surgery, it may be the best option when it comes to alleviating that constant ache. Your doctor may recommend a rotator cuff repair depending on the severity of the compromised shoulder.

“It is important to diagnose certain conditions of the shoulder sooner rather than later. Rotator cuff surgery is common and it can vary in complexity depending on the tear. Certain characteristics of injuries can greatly influence treatment, type of surgery and length of recovery. In a typical situation, the surgery is completed on an outpatient basis with a minimally invasive shoulder arthroscopy. Patients are usually in a sling for approximately six weeks with physical therapy requirements based upon size of the injury. The rehabilitation can last up to six months depending on the severity,” stated Witty.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with North Oaks Orthopaedic Specialty Center, click here or call (985) 805-5498 in Hammond or (225) 686-4900 in Livingston.