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 . 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.