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Reducing Shoulder Pain and When a Total Joint Shoulder Replacement Is Necessary

The Shoulder Joint

A ball-and-socket joint, your shoulder gives you the ability to reach high and low, behind and in front of you, throw, catch, and perform an innumerable number of other tasks. It is the most flexible and mobile joint in your body, which also makes it more susceptible to injury or dislocation. Injuries to the shoulder joint or disease, like osteoarthritis, can cause mild to severe shoulder pain and limited flexibility. There are effective non-surgical remedies for shoulder pain, but if none of those are working for you, then it may be time to consider shoulder replacement surgery for pain relief and restoration of mobility.

Main Causes of Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain could be the result of several underlying causes, but the most common reasons for shoulder pain are:

  • Osteoarthritis: A degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis typically occurs in people over the age of 50 and causes the cartilage around the bones of the shoulder to degrade and “wear away.” Without the cushioning of cartilage, the bones begin to rub together, causing pain and stiffness in the shoulder.
  • Rotator Cuff Tear: The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that support and stabilize your shoulder joint. When one of these muscles or tendons is torn, either through a sudden injury or from everyday wear-and-tear, pain, weakness, and loss of full range of motion can result.
  • Fractures: Fractures occur when one of the bones that make up your shoulder becomes broken causing pain and limited flexibility. Depending on the severity of the injury will determine the best treatment.

Non-Surgical Remedies for Shoulder Pain

The best non-surgical treatment options for shoulder pain include rest, application of ice, over-the-counter pain medication, steroid injections, and physical therapy to help improve flexibility and relieve pain. After about eight weeks of physical therapy, your shoulder pain should be reduced and range of motion mostly restored. If you are still experiencing pain and discomfort, though, then it may be time to consider shoulder replacement surgery. C

How to Determine If You Need Full Shoulder Replacement Surgery

If nonsurgical treatments are not doing enough to alleviate your shoulder pain and improve shoulder function, then surgery may be the best option for you. Other determining factors that make you a good candidate for shoulder replacement surgery include your inability to perform normal everyday activities due to pain and limited shoulder function, and if the pain is severe enough to keep you up at night. 

Shoulder Replacement Surgery – What to Expect

In the last 15 years, shoulder replacement surgery has skyrocketed due to technological advancements in implant design and improved outcomes in helping patients alleviate pain and regain mobility in their shoulders. It is the fastest-growing joint replacement surgery in the U.S. and an effective way to reduce pain, restore flexibility, and get you back to enjoying activities you used to do.

Shoulder replacement surgery involves replacing the damaged parts of the shoulder with artificial components. Reconstructing the anatomy of the shoulder joint, a polished, metal ball and plastic socket are put in place to prevent bone-on-bone rubbing. Typically, patients can go home the day after surgery.

After Surgery

Post-surgery, you’ll likely experience some pain that can be managed by over the counter medication, but by the second week, your shoulder pain should be significantly diminished. With physical therapy and strengthening exercises, you will have improved range of motion by three months after the surgery. After a year, you’re likely to not even think about your shoulder replacement but will just go about your tasks pain-free.

If you are tired of suffering from shoulder pain and limited shoulder mobility, then contact the orthopedic surgeons at Coastal Orthopedics. Experts in pain management, they can help you with pain relief and improved shoulder mobility. Click here for more information! 

Submitted & Written By: Coastal Orthopedics

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Rebekah Benson