How Long Should I Worry About Shoulder Pain?

When you have shoulder pain, it’s not always easy to find out what’s causing it. Other areas of your body may also be the source of the pain, which then radiates to your shoulder. Certain neck conditions, such as arthritis and disc herniations, may cause this.

In general, whether you’re in a lot of pain or know you’ve hurt yourself, you can see a doctor as soon as possible to get your shoulder injury diagnosed.

If you have generalized, moderate shoulder pain, consider modifying your movements, taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and stretching to see if the pain goes away on its own. However, if the pain persists after a few weeks, you can seek medical advice.

No Need to Worry:

It’s normal to experience minor discomfort with elevation and when participating in overhead sports. Throwing, shooting basketballs, and lifting weights overhead will inflame the four tendons that make up the rotator cuff and the biceps tendon (the combined musculature that guides the shoulder motions). A thin layer called a bursa covers the tendons and swells when irritated. The inflammatory components in the resulting bursitis irritate nerve fibers, sending pain signals to the brain. Mild bursitis or tendonitis may normally be cured and solved by avoiding overhead movements and using anti-inflammatories on occasion.

Our physical therapists also use posture-strengthening exercises to treat minor shoulder irritations. Slumping at your desk, reaching for your cursor, and hunching over your keyboard all put additional pressure on the shoulder, neck, and back, and may be the source of your shoulder pain.

What You Need To Do:

Starting with posture adjustment, specific shoulder exercises may be performed. Observe the difference between standing with your shoulders at or behind your hips and your belly button tucked in. You can correct your posture and alleviate mild impingement pain by rubbing your shoulder blades together repeatedly during the day, with your stomach in and head up. Using free weights and resistance cables for internal and external strengthening exercises, such as biceps curls and triceps pulls, and perform all shoulder exercises with your hands below the level of your shoulder.

Increase Your Worry:

Pain that does not go away or that happens with any movement means that the main tissues have become irritated to the point where they are transmitting pain signals even though the patient is not moving. This level of inflammation occurs before more serious structural injuries, such as tissue tears or early arthritis. Total rotator cuff tears and arthritis can be avoided if caught early. Injections of platelet-derived growth factors, amniotic fluid, and hyaluronic acid lubrication are popular treatments.

To help repair the activity that could be causing the injury, physical therapy focuses on shoulder mechanics, muscle strengthening, and sport-specific exercise. We sometimes see throwers with minor flaws in their mechanics or golfers with swing defects that cause problems. The pain is relieved by correcting the throw or swing.

We avoid cortisone injections because there is evidence that if used too often, it weakens the tissues of the shoulder. Shoulder instability, in which the shoulder moves abnormally around the face of the glenoid, may also cause pain. Although this may be hereditary, it is most commonly caused by a joint injury to the labrum or gasket.

What You Need To Do:

Chronic pain necessitates a thorough examination, X-rays, and an MRI. While an ultrasound scan may provide additional details, nothing beats a comprehensive exam that includes X-ray and MRI imaging. Targeted therapy will begin after a definitive diagnosis has been made. We are saddened to see minor injuries turn into major ones due to a lack of accurate diagnosis. Injections of biologic therapies, along with shoulder-specific exercises, can be curative for inflammations and even small tears. In the case of labrum and rotator cuff tears, a deliberate decision must be taken about which tears should be fixed and how they should be repaired.

Be Really Worry:

Red flags include discomfort at night or pain that does not improve after four weeks of therapy. Pain that radiates down the arm, up the leg, or to the back is also concerning, and may suggest injuries to the hip, as well as the neck. It may start in the neck discs or in the brachial plexus, a group of nerves in the front of the shoulder. Physical examinations, X-rays, and MRIs are used to diagnose these injuries. Another area where early repair of broken ligaments is beneficial is shoulder instability, which manifests as the shoulder popping in and out of the joint.

Since you force your arm up into the socket through the rotator cuff tear when you turn over, night pain is common with a complete rotator cuff tear. Acute tears and degenerative tears are the two types of rotator cuff tears. When tiny, acute tears in healthy tissue can be treated with injections and time. Larger ones, on the other hand, are almost always repaired surgically.

Degenerative tears that have been present for a long time and are often associated with arthritis fall into a more complicated decision tree. It’s obvious that some of them need to be fixed. However, in some cases, the rate of repair failure is high enough that non-operative care is the best option. After the surgery, the patient must undergo a three-month debilitating rehabilitation program, with complete recovery expected after a year of exercises.

What You Need To Do:

Early detection and treatment are critical. Fortunately, most broken tissue issues in the shoulder can be repaired as an outpatient operation with a local anesthetic and an arthroscope. Bionic (artificial) replacement is only needed in the most serious cases of arthritis. Biologic therapies that use injections to stimulate anabolic tissue stimulation, exercise, physical therapy, and activity coaching are becoming more successful, more targeted, and more widely used. The key is to treat them early on until complete tissue tearing causes disability.

Are You Looking for Shoulder Pain Relief? 

Pace Physical Therapy in San Jose, California specializes in non-surgical shoulder pain relief and recovery therapies.  We pride ourselves on offering the best possible physical therapy available and going above and beyond for our patients. Physical therapy, without the need for harmful drugs or unnecessary surgery, is a safe, simple and convenient way to find relief from shoulder pain. A variety of problems resulting in shoulder pain have been treated by our physical therapists, with patients experiencing progress and relief after just a few short sessions, and even fewer! We will develop a specialized mix of physical therapy approaches to treat and alleviate your pain once we have identified the source of your shoulder pain. Gentle manual therapy helps to restore natural joint mobility, relieve constraints on soft tissue, and facilitate circulation while restoring strength and the proper sequence of muscle activation around the shoulder joint through precise therapeutic exercises. Finally, we teach you strategies to strengthen your power and to stop the recurrence of future shoulder problems. Don’t let your pain in your shoulder hinder your physical skills any longer! Our physical therapy practice in San Jose, CA, will give you the support you need to once again start living your regular life. To schedule your appointment and get started on your journey towards pain relief, contact Pace Physical Therapy today. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!