How to manage and treat shoulder pain
The shoulder is a unique joint in the human body, allowing for more range of motion than any other joint. Along with that range of motion comes soft tissues and muscles that are prone to injury. Orthopedic surgeon Christopher G. Mazoue, MD, shared tips on how to treat common shoulder injuries at home and when to seek care.
“In younger patients, those less than 30 years old, shoulder injuries are often severe and caused by playing sports. In patients older than 30, shoulder injuries tend to occur from overuse, which often leads to bursitis, tendinitis or arthritis around the shoulder,” said Dr. Mazoue.
As with many joint and muscle injuries, there are treatment options you can try at home to lessen your shoulder pain and give an injury time to heal. These treatments options include:
- Altering activities to decrease stress on your shoulder
- Applying ice to the shoulder for 20 minutes at a time
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen)
“If shoulder pain persists after a week of two of these efforts, or if pain is severe, we recommend following up with a physician,” said Dr. Mazoue.
Most shoulder pain and injuries can be treated without surgery through activity modification, physical therapy, medications and, at times, injections. However, if nonsurgical treatment options do not work, surgery is usually the next option to explore with an orthopedic surgeon. Most surgeries are performed using minimally invasive techniques such as arthroscopic surgery and can result in complete pain relief and improvement in function.
Because shoulders allow for such expansive range of motion, injuries are bound to occur no matter your age. However, don’t let your injuries keep you from your everyday life. Talk to an orthopedic surgeon. “We want to help get you back to your regular, active life – whether that be playing sports or picking up your grandchild,” said Dr. Mazoue.
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