Shoulder injuries are a very common problem in adults that can cause severe pain, discomfort, and immobility. This can affect your ability to perform routine activities and keep you from doing the things you love. At the UVM Medical Center, our experienced team of orthopedic specialists provides the latest treatments and therapies for shoulder pain.
Shoulder Pain Care at UVM Medical Center
At the UVM Medical Center, our expert orthopedic specialists have decades of experience diagnosing and treating shoulder pain. When receiving shoulder pain care at the UVM Medical Center, you can expect:
- Advanced Technology - we offer the latest technology and minimally invasive surgery to treat shoulder pain. Our team uses shoulder arthroscopy and mini-open repair to treat rotator cuff injuries, which reduce your recovery time and risk of complications.
- Personalized Care - we provide care that is personalized specifically for you. The doctors will review your condition and recommend a treatment plan and matches your goals & needs. We strive to help you stay active and healthy for as long as possible.
- Experience, Trusted Expertise - as a university hospital, our expertise comes from a deep understanding of scientific knowledge and research. Patients have access to all the resources of our institution, from advanced diagnostic tests and treatments to rehabilitative care. We place a strong emphasis on patient education. We encourage our patients to learn as much as possible about their condition from our team of experts.
Shoulder Pain Diagnosis
Shoulder pain is any pain in or around your shoulder and is very common in adults. At the UVM Medical Center, we provide the expertise of a specialized group of physicians who work as a team to provide comprehensive shoulder pain diagnosis. We will work with you to assess your problem. Our diagnostic team includes radiologists who are specially trained in bone imaging. The diagnostic process includes:
- History and Physical Examination - we will perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine the mechanism of injury, symptoms and how the injury affects your activities. Our providers will check for tenderness, instability, strength, and range of motion.
- Imaging - in order to analyze the extent of the damage to the joint, we may use an X-ray, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or MR arthrography. These tests can help visualize soft tissue structures such as the rotator cuff tendon. An MRI can show the size and location of the tear.
Treatments for Shoulder Pain
The UVM Medical Center offers a comprehensive set of treatment options for shoulder injuries, including minimally invasive surgery. Finding the right treatment that allows you to get back to the activities you love. Shoulder pain treatment options include:
Depending on the extent of the shoulder injury, non-surgical treatments can reduce shoulder pain and disability and restore function. Non-surgical treatments include:
- Rest & limited activity - resting the shoulder and limiting overhead movement are often recommended to allow the injury to heal
- Physical therapy & activity - our highly skilled physical therapy team works closely with you to help increase the range of motion and reduce pain
- Assistive devices - using supporting devices, such as a sling, can be beneficial to letting your injury heal
- Medication - we offer the full range of medications available, which can be very effective in treating shoulder pain. Medications include:
- Anti-inflammatory and pain medicine - many patients use over the counter medications to help control pain and inflammation in the shoulder. These medicines include Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Acetaminophen
- Cortisone injections - this treatment involves injecting powerful anti-inflammatory medicines into your joint to temporarily relieve pain and swelling.
Surgery for Shoulder Pain
When non-surgical treatments are not successful, an orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgery to treat your shoulder pain. Surgical procedures include:
- Arthroscopy - a minimally invasive, outpatient surgery that allows the orthopedic surgeon to see inside your shoulder. A tiny camera is inserted through a small incision to provide a clear view of the shoulder joint. The camera transmits the image to a tv monitor through fiber optic technology. The surgeon then inserts surgical instruments through other small incisions to perform the repair.
- Mini-Open Repair - this type of open surgery is performed on a smaller scale and uses fewer incisions. Arthroscopy is also used during this procedure so that the surgeon can see the extent of the damage and structures within the joint.
- Shoulder Replacement
- Total Shoulder Replacement - although less common than hip or knee replacement, it is just as successful in relieving joint pain due to joint wear. A replacement may be recommended if you have severe arthritis. Replacement surgery involves replacing the joint surfaces with a highly polished metal ball attached to a stem, and a plastic socket.
- Reverse Shoulder Replacement - with this surgery, the two main pieces of the shoulder (ball and socket) are reversed. This procedure is especially helpful in situation where the rotator cuff cannot be repaired and the join is worn. This procedure is used for patients whose rotator cuff muscles have degenerated or weakened to a point where they can no longer hold the shoulder joint together.