How often have you had a twinge in your shoulder and popped a couple of pills? Probably too many to count. Then two days later that pain is a bit worse. How many times do you reach for a pain reliever before you decide to take action? Maybe you procrastinate because you fear surgery is the only treatment that will help. Let’s dive into when surgery may be needed to relieve chronic shoulder pain.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Shoulder pain or any pain is considered chronic if you have been in discomfort for longer than six months. You don’t necessarily need to have it every single day, but a consistent pain that keeps coming back for more than six months.
The shoulder is a typical one since it allows for so much motion. You can move your shoulder 360 degrees. It doesn’t take much to strain a tendon, ligament, muscles, or other tissues. It is fairly easy to sustain a rotator cuff injury, develop shoulder arthritis, a fracture, frozen shoulder, bursitis, instability, or nerve issues to name a few. You don’t need to be an athlete to hurt your shoulder.
Making an appointment with Greater Rochester Orthopaedics in Rochester will give you the information you need and begin a series of treatments without surgery.
Conservative, Non-Surgical Shoulder Treatments
After a thorough examination and tests, most specialists will begin with conservative treatments for chronic shoulder pain, and they may be all you need. This will depend on the cause and severity of the pain.
This is a common treatment to relieve chronic shoulder pain.. You will focus on strengthening your shoulder muscles, restoring normal movement, and reducing pain. You will also learn how to prevent re-injury.
These can include over-the-counter plus prescribed pain relievers like anti-inflammatory medications and non-narcotic pain relievers.
A steroid injection may be recommended in concert with other treatments to reduce inflammation. These will reduce pain while you strengthen your shoulder.
Platelet rich plasma, or PRP, injections are another treatment to restore normal movement and flexibility. This is an injection of your own blood to help heal and regenerate damaged tissue. Unfortunately, this treatment is not typically covered by insurance.
In addition, your orthopaedic specialist may have you immobilize your shoulder temporarily with a sling, use ice as directed, and modify movement during the healing process.
Only a very severe shoulder injury will necessitate surgery.