Why do I have Shoulder Pain when I lift my arm above my head?
There could be several reasons why you may have shoulder pain. The most common reason for shoulder pain is related to a rotator cuff injury. Rotator cuff pain is often described as a dull shoulder ache that worsens at night.
If you are experiencing discomfort because your shoulder hurts, schedule an appointment with JIS Orthopedics today! We have offices conveniently located in New Albany and St. Clairsville, OH. Our orthopedic surgeons can offer you a treatment plan to help alleviate your pain.
About Rotator Cuff Tears
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. They help keep the head of the upper arm bone in its proper place.
There are three different types of rotator cuff injuries. The list below explains each type of rotator cuff injury.
- Rotator cuff tears: Tears in the rotator cuff tendons become more likely as we age, especially as we get over the age of 45.
- Rotator cuff tendonitis: Tendonitis refers to inflammation and pain in the tendons. Rotator cuff tendonitis can occur as an overuse injury.
- Shoulder impingement syndrome: Your rotator cuff tendon passes through a small space below the acromion. Normally it will glide through smoothly with no obstruction. However, the outer edge of your shoulder blade may push into this space, causing friction on the tendons close to the rotator cuff muscles.
Causes of Rotator Cuff Injuries
Most rotator cuff injuries are caused by progressive wear and tear of the tendon tissue over time. If you repeatedly move your arm above your head or lift heavy loads over a long period of time, then you can damage your tendons. You can also injure your rotator cuff with a single blow to your shoulder or by falling.
How Are Rotator Cuff Injuries Diagnosed?
Your doctor will begin by performing a physical exam and considering your history. During the physical exam, your doctor will press on different parts of the affected shoulder and test your range of motion by asking you to put your arm into different positions. You may also do a strength test for your shoulders and arms.
You may also be required to do image testing to identify the specifics of the injury. Imaging tests may include the following:
- X-rays: X-rays will not show injuries to the muscles or tendons, but they can help identify potential causes of your pain. These causes may include bone spurs or the presence of shoulder arthritis.
- Ultrasound: The images from this test can help your doctor to assess the structures of your muscles and tendons. The test can help in making a quick assessment.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRI scans provide detailed images of the structures of your shoulder.
How Are Rotator Cuff Injuries Treated?
Treatment of rotator cuff injuries largely depends on the cause of your shoulder pain and the severity of the injury. At JIS Orthopedics, we specialize in both surgical and non-surgical treatments.
Non-Surgical Treatments for Rotator Cuff Injuries
Most rotator cuff injuries can be treated with nonsurgical treatments. The following list contains some of the possible treatment options:
- NSAIDs: Anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce swelling and relieve pain.
- Steroid injections: Corticosteroid injections can help when you have severe pain. They will also help in reducing inflammation.
- Physical therapy: Exercises can be given to help strengthen the muscles that support the shoulder joint. Physical therapy exercises designed to increase your range of motion will also help if you have developed a frozen shoulder.
Surgical Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tears
If you have a severe rotator cuff tear, surgical treatment may be necessary to reattach the tendon to the bone. This is usually done as a minimally invasive procedure called arthroscopy.
Get Mobile Again
If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder and suspect you have a rotator cuff tear, schedule an appointment with JIS Orthopedics today. We have offices conveniently located in New Albany and St. Clairsville, OH. Our orthopedic surgeons can give you peace of mind by providing you with an accurate diagnosis of your shoulder pain.