When to See a Doctor for Shoulder Pain: A Brief Guide


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Shoulder pain is one of the most common types of pain that impacts your mobility and daily activities. Often associated with heart disease, shoulder pain can also occur due to an injury, trauma, or a medical condition like arthritis. While over-the-counter medications might help relieve the pain, it is crucial to address the cause of the pain becoming frequent. In this guide, we will be sharing particular situations that require a visit to an orthopedic doctor so you can get the appropriate treatment.

After an Accident

Minor injuries and accidents can cause inflammation and pain at the injury site which can be resolved by taking OTC medications and giving the body time to heal. However, in severe injuries, the joint may get swollen in an instant, cause extreme pain, or may seem deformed. In situations like these, there is a likelihood of a fracture and the injury then needs to be evaluated by a specialist.

Depending on the severity of the accident, either the shoulder will be immobilized or operated on to repair the damage. If you have a broken shoulder, get plenty of rest, eat healthily, and follow your doctor’s instructions for a quick recovery.

After Sports Injuries

Commonly, sports injuries result in damage to the rotator cuff muscles. Excessive force, jerks, or a fall while playing sports can cause this shoulder injury. Most rotator cuff injuries heal through adequate care, shoulder immobilization, and taking pain-relieving medications. However, there are certain cases when surgical intervention might be necessary.

Visiting your doctor is crucial during this time as negligence can make matters worse. After appropriate examination and evaluation, your doctor may advise Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair to resolve the symptoms while avoiding any complications that may arise. Surgeries like these are only recommended after performing an extensive evaluation of your signs, symptoms, the cause of injury, and its severity.

Your doctor will also advise an MRI scan of the shoulder to better access the case and achieve the best results.

During Old Age

After the age of 50, the bones start to lose their mineralization, making them weak. Conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis are common orthopedic diseases that can trigger shoulder pain and discomfort. Seeing a doctor for these issues is crucial as conditions like these have to be managed adequately to reduce the intensity of the symptoms.

Immobility issues due to diseases like a stroke can also lead to shoulder pain. During these situations, muscle wasting occurs commonly. Immobility can also result in a condition called frozen shoulder where the joint capsule tightens up, limiting the movement of the shoulder joint to an extent. Mild exercise and adequate rest can resolve minor issues related to shoulder pain. However, getting rid of a frozen shoulder might require an expert opinion from an orthopedic surgeon.

If you experienced any one of the situations mentioned above, immediately seek emergency care and get yourself examined so any injury can be resolved on time. Some cases can be resolved with adequate rest and care. However, several severe forms of shoulder injuries cause intense pain and need to be resolved immediately. Therefore, never hesitate to see your doctor as their initial and ongoing care is vital to pain management and recovery.


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Current Issue June 2023

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