Florida Spine Institute

Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is made up of many different joints, muscles, tendons and bones, which allow for a wide range of motion. With so many moving parts, it is not uncommon for people to suffer from shoulder pain. Pain can be temporary or chronic, and either related to movement or constantly present. There are many different conditions that can cause you to experience shoulder pain; luckily, there are many different treatment options, ranging from behavior modification to surgery.

  • Causes of Shoulder Pain

    Shoulder pain is typically caused by three main conditions:

    • Arthritis: There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common type to cause shoulder pain is osteoarthritis, which develops slowly. It can also be related to past wear and tear, overuse from sports, and injuries.
    • Injured tendons: Tendons connect your muscles to your bones, and can become damaged due to overuse. Tendonitis occurs when the tendon slowly wears down. Tendon tears, which occur when the tendon is ripped into two pieces, are typically caused by a sudden injury.
    • Referred pain: If you are suffering from a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or degenerative disc disease in your cervical (neck) or upper spine, the pain is often referred to your shoulder.

    While arthritis and tendon injuries will worsen with movement, referred pain will neither decrease nor increase when you move your shoulder.

  • Treatment Options

    There are many different treatment options to help relieve your shoulder pain, both surgical and non-surgical. You can start off with physical therapy to help rebuild the muscles and tendons; you can also consider steroid injections to help decrease inflammation. Many patients have recently had success using electric stimulation to ease their pain. It works by applying concentrated doses of small electrical signals to your muscles, to enact an increased healing response. This therapy has been clinically proven to help with managing chronic pain.
    If the non-surgical techniques are not effective, or you have a more complicated injury, there are a few different options. Depending on your condition, you can have a manipulation or an arthroscopic capsular release done. The former involves doctors moving your shoulder gently while you are under anesthetic to help with range of motion, while the latter involves your doctors making a small incision to remove scar tissue that is causing your pain. One of the most common treatment options for people suffering from osteoarthritis is a shoulder joint replacement; this new joint can last up to 20 years.

If the nonsurgical methods have been unsuccessful for a few months, your doctor may recommend a spinal fusion to fuse the vertebrae to each other, securing them into place. Spinal fusion surgery is a very effective treatment for spondylolisthesis but requires a lengthy recovery, which is why doctors pursue non-surgical treatments first.

If you’ve determined that your range of motion is being compromised in your shoulder, it is not uncommon. The skilled physicians at the Florida Spine Institute look forward to helping you determine the causes and treatment options for your shoulder pain.