Shoulder pain might be due to an acute injury or could develop slowly through tissue degeneration or overuse. Either way, it can cause considerable discomfort and inconvenience. If you have shoulder pain, the board-certified physicians at New Braunfels Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine in New Braunfels, Texas, can help. They have extensive experience in treating shoulder pain and perform the most advanced forms of shoulder surgery as well. Schedule a consultation by calling their office today or book an appointment using the online form.
Some of the reasons you might get shoulder pain include:
Your shoulder is a joint that can move in more directions than any other, which is extremely useful. However, it does make the shoulder joint more vulnerable to damage.
Your shoulder has three bones in it:
There’s also a network of muscles and tendons holding your arm bone into your shoulder blade. This is called the rotator cuff. Any of these structures, or the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels around them, could suffer an injury or deterioration that can lead to shoulder pain.
Your provider at New Braunfels Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine first carries out a thorough examination of your shoulder. They need to know how the pain started, what it’s like, and what makes it worse or better. This information, together with your medical history and the physical exam, can give them a good idea of the cause of your pain.
They might then need to confirm their preliminary diagnosis or rule out other causes using diagnostic imaging tests. An X-ray shows injuries to your bones. Advanced CT (computed tomography) scans provide highly detailed images of your bones.
If you have a soft tissue injury, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), or ultrasound are best. You might also undergo nerve conduction studies, including an EMG (electromyogram), to see if there are any problems with the nerves in your shoulder.
Other diagnostic tests include:
An arthrogram is a type of X-ray that uses an injection of dye into your shoulder to create a clearer image of your shoulder joint. It’s often used together with an MRI.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive type of surgery that you might need if the cause of your shoulder pain still isn’t clear after having other tests.
Your provider at New Braunfels Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine uses a tiny camera on a flexible tube to see into your shoulder. It’s sometimes possible to repair damaged tissues or remove bone and cartilage fragments using arthroscopy as well.
Initial treatments for shoulder pain typically involve:
These approaches are successful in relieving shoulder pain for most patients. If you’re still in pain, your provider can give you joint injections containing a steroid and an anesthetic to relieve discomfort and reduce inflammation.
In a minority of cases, surgery is necessary to relieve shoulder pain. For instance, certain types of rotator cuff tears and shoulder instability might not heal without help. Where possible, your surgeon uses minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques to repair these types of injuries.
If you have severe arthritis or irreparable damage to your shoulder, you might need a partial or total shoulder replacement.
To get relief from shoulder pain, call New Braunfels Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine today, or book an appointment online.