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When to See a Doctor About Shoulder Pain

When to See a Doctor About Shoulder Pain

You’ve developed a nagging pain in your shoulder, or perhaps it comes and goes depending upon your activity level. When the problem persists, be assured that there’s no valor in simply gritting your teeth and weathering the pain.

There are many reasons why you may develop shoulder pain and just as many reasons why you should seek expert diagnosis and treatment from us at William Schell, MD.

In the following, we take a look at some of the more common causes of shoulder pain and the risks you take in not seeking our medical help.

Rotator cuff tears

Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that keeps your upper arm bone stabilized within your shoulder socket. These tissues are tough and flexible, which is what allows the wide range of motion your arms enjoy.

As with all of your soft tissues, however, they can be stretched past their ability to bounce back, and you can develop a tear. In many cases, this type of injury occurs on the heels of an acute trauma, but rotator cuff tears can also develop because of overuse, which is why it’s a common problem among pitchers.

When your rotator cuff tears, you can encounter significant pain, especially at night when you lie down. As well, you may lose certain motions, such as raising your arm.

The problem with rotator cuff tears is that partial tears can easily become complete tears if not properly treated, and complete tears rarely heal on their own.

Shoulder dislocation

Thanks to the inherent instability of your shoulder joint because of its shallow socket, your shoulders are susceptible to dislocation, either partial or full. When you suffer a full dislocation, the end of your humerus comes completely out of the socket and the resulting pain is enough to send even the strongest among us to our doctors for treatment.

If you have a partial dislocation, however, you may not experience the same discomfort, so you may ignore the problem, at your own peril. Partial dislocations, like partial tears, can easily become full dislocations.

As well, depending upon how far you’ve stretched the soft tissues, you may be left with ongoing issues with shoulder instability.

Any time you dislocate your shoulder, it’s important to have us take a look so we can reposition the joint and evaluate the extent of the damage. In having us provide you with prompt, and expert, treatment of your shoulder dislocation, you can avoid further issues down the road.

Shoulder arthritis

There are several forms of arthritis that can affect your shoulders, such as osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. What they all have in common is that they can lead to nagging pain and stiffness in your shoulders.

While there may be no cure for arthritis, there’s much we can do to slow the progression of the disease and maintain your ability to use your shoulders freely. In most cases, we can remedy the pain and inflammation with corticosteroid injections, which provide you with a reprieve long enough to engage in some longer-term solutions, namely physical therapy.

Of course, there are many other conditions that can lead to shoulder pain, but these illustrate the point that any pain in your shoulder is pain you shouldn’t ignore. Not only can we help relieve your shoulder pain and prevent larger problems from occurring, we can work toward preserving pain-free movement in your shoulders long into the future.

For expert diagnosis and treatment of your shoulder pain, contact our New York 

City office, which is located in Columbus Circle on the Upper West Side, to schedule an appointment.

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