How to Beat Back Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is an equal opportunity torturer, afflicting patients young and old, active and infirm. A tremendous variety of ailments that can give rise to shoulder pain, from disease to disuse, which can make it difficult to diagnose and treat.

But a good diagnostic appointment can get you most of the way there.

Shoulder pain typically is caused by instability from straining the muscles, tendons and bones of this system. Although issues such as trauma and arthritis are easy to spot, longer-term stresses may go unnoticed for far too long until they become chronically painful. One such issue, impingement syndrome, typically strikes people whose work requires them to reach or point all day:

Chronic shoulder pain often stems from prolonged, repetitive or awkward movements. This type of pain is sometimes referred to as repetitive strain injury (RSI) or cumulative trauma disorder, which is common among people who work with their arm above the shoulder level, like homemakers, teachers, painters, carpenters and sportsmen.

Treating shoulder pain effectively requires an expert orthopedist who can help you understand how your daily activities may be causing pain. When you contact AOSM, you get access to the most accurate diagnostic tools in San Diego.

Contact my offices today to get fast relief from shoulder pain in San Diego and throughout Southern California.

When to See a San Diego Orthopedic Surgeon

Anyone who has ever dealt with chronic pain knows it can hard to assess when the treatment should escalate. After all, we’ve gotten pretty good at managing chronic pain with therapy, steroids and painkillers. But each of these approaches has serious limitations: in the case of drugs, for instance, there are very real dangers to maintaining a high dose of powerful narcotics.

Orthopedic surgery is the next logical step for most patients. Unlike ongoing medication designed to manage the pain, surgery gets at the root of the problem, relieving the primary issue. If damage to your muscle, cartilage or tendons has become so advanced that the body can no longer heal itself, then it’s time for orthopedic surgery.

As a San Diego orthopedic surgeon, I see many patients complaining of shoulder pain, elbow pain, hand and wrist pain, or knee pain. Each of these may be caused in turn by any of several dozen causes, from arthritis to cancer. The only way to know for sure where the is to conduct a full diagnostic assessment here in the office.

If your chronic pain has graduated to something you can no longer simply manage, it’s time to visit an orthopedic surgeon. Call Dr. William Holland to get a full evaluation today.

Never Too Late for Shoulder Surgery: An NBA Case Study

Pro basketball players face an unlikely combination of struggles: their exceptional height means they have longer limbs which experience greater torsional forces, and they spend half their athletic lives leaping and extending those limbs as far as they can go.

The result is often undue wear and tear on the back and shoulders.

So it is perhaps no surprise that Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen recently posted this photo, alerting fans and friends that he has succumbed to the pain at long last, and begun taking active steps to restore comfort and mobility in his shoulder:

As the accompanying squib says, “It’s no surprise that the wear and tear of 1,386 games is beginning to take effect.”

Professional athletes aren’t the only people who report increasing shoulder pain as they age. At my orthopedic surgery practice here in San Diego, I see many hundreds of people who struggle with shoulder pain each year. When rest and rehab no longer do the trick, it may be time for orthopedic shoulder surgery.

Shoulder Pain 101

Shoulder pain is common, but that doesn’t mean that it is welcome or harmless. Many active people experience some pain in the shoulder following hard lifting, vigorous exercise, or injury. Typically this pain will resolve on its own, but some deeper injuries come with persistent pain that never seems to improve.

This article lays out a nice tiered primer on shoulder pain, including when it can be ignored, when it must be treated, and when shoulder surgery is the most viable option. This passage gets to the heart of diagnosing chronic pain:

Pain at night or pain not improving with therapy after 4 weeks are red flags. Pain radiating down the arm or up to the neck or to the back are also worrisome for injuries not just in the shoulder but sometimes of the neck. These injuries need to be worked up with careful physical exams, x-rays and MRIs. A full tear of the rotator cuff often will present with night pain, since when you roll over you push the arm up into the socket through the rotator cuff tear. Pain radiating down the arm or up to the neck can sometimes be from the discs in the neck or the nerves at the front of the shoulder called the brachial plexus [12]. Instability of the shoulder, with the shoulder popping in or out of the joint is another area that is best treated with early repair of the torn ligaments.

As a San Diego orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulder pain, I offer a wide suite of surgical options for patients who can no longer tolerate the agony of restricted motion and shoulder discomfort at play and at rest.

If you’d like to schedule your own sports medicine exam today, contact the shoulder pain experts at AOSM.

Making Sense of Shoulder Surgery in San Diego

Hot on the heels of my last post about knee surgery comes this one, which I hope will dispel some of the confusion about how shoulder surgery works, and when it’s necessary.

As before, I have singled out a great online reference for anyone who’s interested in further reading on this subject. One of the principal advantages of the NIH’s Medline website is that it offers a number of highly focused, granular pieces about every aspect of medical practice and orthopedic surgery. This passage in particular sums up the nature of arthroscopic shoulder surgery for instability:

• If you have a torn labrum, the surgeon will repair it. The labrum is the cartilage that lines the rim of the shoulder joint.
• Ligaments that attach to this area will also be repaired.
• The Bankart lesion is a tear on the labrum in the lower part of the shoulder joint.
• A SLAP lesion involves the labrum and the ligament on the top part of the shoulder joint.

My practice here in San Diego offers cutting edge surgery for shoulder pain, frozen shoulder and instability, We specialize in sports medicine for active adults and juveniles, helping each patient recover and regain the same mobility they once enjoyed.

To speak with an orthopedic surgeon right away, please don’t hesitate to contact the shoulder surgery experts today.