When to See an Orthopedist for Shoulder Pain
Shoulder pain is one of the most common conditions people experience as they age. It is wise to call an orthopedist about shoulder problems because pain and injuries can impact your daily activities. Shoulder pain could indicate tendonitis, arthritis, a rotator cuff tear or shoulder instability.
How can you know when you should try to manage your pain at home or seek medical intervention? It may depend on the cause of the pain or injury. You may get some relief from adjusting your activities and doing shoulder stretches if you have mild pain. If your pain does not subside or you have any of these symptoms, you should call an orthopedist:
- Limited range of motion
- Increasing weakness of the shoulder
- Pain in the shoulder when you are at rest
- Numbness or tingling in the shoulder or arm
- Pain that is getting worse over time
Initial Treatment Options for Pain Management
At your visit, your doctor will perform a physical exam and may take an X-ray to determine the cause of your shoulder problem. In some instances, you may need an MRI as well.
After reviewing your results, your orthopedist will develop a customized treatment plan to relieve your pain and help you recover. Some initial treatment options may include the following:
- Resting of the affected shoulder or arm
- Icing the shoulder
- Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications
- Modifying your activities to avoid further injury
- Doing physical therapy to strengthen the muscles of the shoulder and arm
- Undergoing steroid injections
If your discomfort persists, your doctor may recommend surgical intervention. Our surgery centers offer many procedures and treatments, such as a shoulder conditioning and recovery program, injection therapy for the shoulder or elbow, and shoulder surgery.
One of the most common causes of pain is a rotator cuff tear. If an MRI reveals a rotator cuff tear, you may require surgery. In most cases, shoulder surgery is an outpatient procedure that allows you to go home the same day. During the procedure, a surgeon will enter through a small incision and use a tiny camera and tools to reattach the torn rotator cuff to the bone.
Call Your Orthopedist if Shoulder Pain Persists
You don’t have to live with constant shoulder discomfort. Whatever the cause of your shoulder pain may be, an orthopedist can help you manage your pain and prevent further damage. Call your orthopedist to schedule an appointment and get relief so you can resume the activities you enjoy.