Shoulder Pain

Looking for shoulder pain relief in Central Wisconsin? Stevens Point Orthopedics' experts treat shoulder pain.
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The shoulder has the largest range of motion of any joint in the body. Everything from scratching your back to lifting a book requires using your shoulder. Because of this, the shoulder is often subject to overuse, traumatic injury, and/or natural body changes, leading to pain and tissue damage.

Suffering from shoulder pain? Contact us to learn about treatment options.

How Your Shoulder Works

Shoulder pain anatomy
The shoulder is a complex structure consisting of three bones, the joints between them, and the muscles that generate strength and motion.

Shoulder bones are:
• The shoulder blade (scapula);
• The collarbone (clavicle); and
• The upper arm bone (humerus).

The shoulder blade and the collarbone come together on top of the shoulder to form the acromioclavicular (AC) joint.

The upper arm bone is shaped like a ball to fit neatly into a socket on the shoulder blade. This is called the glenohumeral joint. The socket is shallow to allow a wide range of motion of the arm. Inside the socket is a flexible rim of soft tissue called the labrum, which helps increase the stability of the shoulder.

Four muscles surround the shoulder joint to help to rotate the arm and provide additional stability. Together, these muscles form the rotator cuff.

Many other muscles help move the shoulder, such as the pectoralis muscles (pecs) on the chest or the latissimus dorsi (lats) on the back.

In order for the shoulder to function properly, the bones, joints and muscles must all work in unison.

Evaluating Shoulder Pain

Evaluation for shoulder pain starts with you giving us a history of your problem: when and how it started, how it feels, and which treatments you have tried. We’ll also review your health history looking for other medical conditions that may be causing or contributing to your pain.

We do a physical exam to test your shoulder structures, check your shoulder’s range of motion and strength, and do tests to uncover specific problems.

Sometimes we order X-rays or MRIs to visualize bones and soft tissues. X-rays can show fractures, spurs, and changes from arthritis. MRIs can show more bone detail, as well as soft-tissue damage like tears of the rotator cuff or labrum.

In some cases, we need input from other specialists, particularly neurologists, who can evaluate and test the nerve supply to the shoulder.

Whatever the cause of your shoulder pain, we are dedicated to helping you find the best treatment. Request an appointment today.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

  • Arthritis
  • Bone Spurs
  • Fractures
  • Instability
  • Weakness
  • Inflammation
  • Less common causes ? infection, tumors, or nerve problems

Treating Shoulder Pain

Shoulder-pain treatment is very specific to the diagnosis and severity of your symptoms.

Lifestyle Modifications include resting your shoulder, changing daily activities to avoid painful situations, and doing exercises to strengthen weak muscles.
Medications can help with some shoulder conditions. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and non-steroidal medications like ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) can relieve pain and/or inflammation. For severe inflammation, a short burst of a steroid medication or a cortisone injection may be an option.
Physical therapy focuses on getting your shoulder muscles and joints to properly work together to move your arm. Even if you are very strong and active, muscle imbalances may cause shoulder pain. Either in-person or via telehealth, physical therapists can identify and address imbalances through corrective exercises. They may give you take-home exercises to help return you to regular activities pain-free.
Surgery may be the next option for certain shoulder conditions if all other treatment options have been exhausted. Although many surgeries can be done arthroscopically, through small incisions using a special camera to see inside the body, some may still require a traditional open surgery.

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