Having shoulder pain is a very common condition and problem, as it affects one in every three people. Many people who are suffering with shoulder pain tend to have issues mostly with their rotator cuff, which is the group of four muscles that make up and support the shoulder joint. After an extensive evaluation of diagnostic tests (X-rays, MRI, physical exam, and a physical therapy evaluation), your orthopedic surgeon will give you a diagnosis, and the prescribe necessary treatment for your injury or condition. In some cases, rest, medication, and physical therapy can be enough to get the shoulder healthy and mobile, but surgery can be a final solution to fixing the shoulder and relieving shoulder pain.
There is not a simple solution to shoulder pain. A common question asked to orthopedic surgeons by patients is, how will I know if I need surgery? They are asked this for injuries to all parts of the musculoskeletal system, but most often it is relating to the shoulder and shoulder pain. There are so many factors that go into whether or not someone will need surgical intervention, which include age, overall health, employment, hand dominance, and other considerations.
Surgeons always like to prescribe physical therapy and other forms of treatment such as steroid injections first, before turning to the need for surgery. Physical therapy and rehabilitation aims to help patients suffering from shoulder pain, such as a rotator cuff tear, restore range of motion (mobility), strength, balance, and function.
If your orthopedic surgeon does say that surgery is your best option, rotator cuff repair and shoulder replacement are among the most common forms of treatment and surgical procedures. After surgery, it you may need to spend anywhere from four to twelve weeks in a sling, and three to six months of physical therapy to restore mobility, strength, balance, and function. Everyone is different, and therefore, the form of treatment for your shoulder will depend on various factors, including injury or condition, the severity, how long the pain has persisted, and if other methods of treatment were already used, but have failed.
Exercise and rehabilitation techniques have often been found to be more effective than surgical intervention for relieving pain. However, if these conservative treatments do not help with pain or are not effective in helping the shoulder mobility, surgery is often the next step. Delaying surgery can often create further complications, and could result in long-term disability. Therefore, talk to your orthopedist immediately for treatment.
To find out if you might need surgery for your shoulder pain, call Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland at (410) 644-1880, or request an appointment online. While surgical procedures are usually the last resort after less invasive treatment options have been tried, we have board-certified orthopedic surgeons that will help you every step of the way.