Shoulder Pain

February 11, 2015 | Stem Cell Therapy | Symptoms
shoulder pain

Are any of the following familiar to you?

  • Stiffness in your shoulders or neck
  • Tenderness or pain that comes and goes
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Sharp pain in your shoulder or upper arm
  • Pain when lifting or throwing, even light objects
  • Trouble reaching above your head
  • Crunching or popping in your shoulder (crepitus)
  • Difficulty and pain during and after sports like golf, bowling, tennis, basketball or baseball
  • Swelling, especially after strenuous activity

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, do not ignore them. It may be tempting to assume your shoulder pain is something minor, but we must be careful not to ignore what could be a more serious problem.

It’s true that many causes of shoulder pain can be relatively minor bruises, strains or over-stressed muscles. But these symptoms may also be related to more serious, possibly degenerative or debilitating, conditions. If your shoulder is hurting, here are some things that will help you better understand the nature of your pain.

Anatomy of the Shoulder

As a complex ball-and-socket joint, the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body.

Shoulder-Socket-Detail          Shoulder-Joint-Ligaments

The shoulder joint includes three bones: the upper arm (humerus), the shoulder blade (scapula) and collarbone (clavicle). The humerus fits into a rounded socket in the scapula called the glenoid. Several muscles and tendons, collectively called the rotator cuff, hold all of that together and allow your shoulder to operate properly.

The shoulder actually contains two joints:

  • Acromioclavicular Joint: where the shoulder blade meets the collarbone
  • Glenohumeral Joint: where the upper arm fits into the shoulder blade


Acromioclavicular-Joint          Glenohumeral-Joint

Because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the socket it fits into, any damage to the connective tendons, ligaments or muscles may result in loss of stability or function in the joint.

If any of these joints, bones, muscles or tendons are injured or inflamed, this may result in pain, weakness, stiffness and reduced range of motion. While injury can result in immediate pain, swelling and other symptoms, simple wear and tear over time can also cause pain and limit flexibility.

Acute Injuries that cause Shoulder Pain:

  • Broken Bones
  • Bruises
  • Joint dislocation
  • Ligament sprain
  • Nerve damage
  • Rotator Cuff tear
  • Shoulder separation

Wear and Tear that causes Shoulder Pain:

  • Bursitis – inflammation of the bursa, fluid sacs that cushion the joints
  • Cartilage (SLAP) tears in the shoulder socket
  • Frozen shoulder — limited shoulder movement, often subsequent to an injury
  • Muscle strain
  • Osteoarthritis — a joint condition in which cartilage is worn away, causing bone spurs, pain and, potentially, nerve damage
  • Repeated reaching overhead — causes tendons to rub and scrape against a part of the shoulder blade called the acromion
  • Rotator Cuff injury — while this could be caused by acute injury, Rotator Cuff damage may also be the result of repetitive stress
  • Tendonitis — inflammation of the ropy fibers that connect bones and muscles

Shoulder pain may also be “referred.” This is when the pain experienced is caused by a condition or symptom not located in the shoulder joint. Osteoarthritis, Disc Degeneration or a Herniated Disc  in the cervical vertebra may lead to shoulder pain. A Pinched Nerve (Radiculopathy) in the Cervical Spine may also lead to pain.

Diagnosing and Treating Shoulder Pain

For minor shoulder injury or pain, you may opt for at-home care using the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. These steps, combined with over-the-counter pain medications or anti-inflammatory drugs may be beneficial. Be sure to read the warning on all medication and avoid even small amounts of over-the-counter medication if you have sensitivity or allergies to these drugs.

Medical treatment for shoulder pain involves the following:

  • Determining the location, type and severity of the issue causing the pain
  • The time frame of the injury
  • The age, overall health and habits of the patient in pain
  • The personal and family medical history of the patient in pain

During your initial visit, Dr. Skaliy will complete a patient interview and physical examination to answer these questions. Further diagnostics may include medical imaging (X-rays, MRI or CT scan).

If initial at-home care and over-the-counter pain relievers have not worked, Dr. Skaliy may suggest Epidural Steroid Injections to reduce pain and inflammation in and around the joint.

In severe cases of chronic pain or joint degeneration, some physicians may recommend surgeries, including Arthroscopy or Arthroplasty. Because of the potential side-effects, complications and other risks related to all surgical procedures, Dr. Skaliy recommends minimally-invasive, nonsurgical options to treat shoulder pain, including Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy.

How effective is Non-Surgical Treatment for Shoulder Pain?

Stem Cell Therapy has produced excellent results in the majority of patients, effectively treating Osteoarthritis, Rotator Cuff injury, Tendonitis, Tendonosis and ligament sprains.

Because pain-free, fully-functioning shoulder joints are so important to our daily lives, results matter. Our patients who have received stem cell treatments for Osteoarthritis, report significant pain reduction and drastically increased function, over time — All without surgery!

That continual improvement over time is another tremendous benefit of Stem Cell Therapy. Because the stem cells continue to grow, heal and regenerate cells, patients experience ongoing increases in function and decreases in pain even years after the initial treatment.

To learn what is causing your shoulder pain as well as what the best treatment program for you may be, click here to make an appointment with Dr. Skaliy, or fill out the form below.


About the Author

Dr. Michael Skaliy

Throughout his career Dr. Michael Skaliy has felt that medicine is a rapidly changing field and he’s continued to stay up to date to bring the latest cutting edge therapies into his practice. Most recently, he introduced stem cell therapy and minimally invasive same day spine surgery, which is done through a small device the size of a pencil.

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