Medical Services

A Pain in the Neck That’s Really a Pain in the Shoulder

It typically starts so minor that we barely notice the pain of arthritis settling into joints. These things happen from aging and from injuries. Some people will have a genetic predisposition to arthritis and other people will have simply developed it in a joint that was injured at some point in time. Many people who have played sports will experience this sort of arthritis onset.

torn rotator cuff can cause arthritis in the shoulder over the course of time. Irritation to the bursa, the underlying tissue within the shoulder, can exacerbate the pain. When the bursa becomes irritated, it swells and causes fluid build-up inside the joint. This situation can be extremely painful. Even sleep becomes uncomfortable with shoulder pain. When it becomes chronic – meaning that it is constant – patients notice that stiffness and soreness creeps into the neck area and sometimes also impacts the back.

Extreme pain from arthritis can severely reduce mobility. Having a limited range of motion can keep you from enjoying life. It is impossible to play ball with your kids if you can’t lift your arm over your head. It’s even more difficult to do daily chores, like putting dishes away in cabinets, reaching for groceries from a top shelf, lifting a bag of trash from the can to take it to the curb, when your shoulder hurts. Excruciating pain, like sharp stabs, often are described by patients with this diagnosis, whenever they attempt to move arms over the height of their chest, lift anything with the arm extended, or move the arm out to the side.

What Can Be Done for Shoulder Pain?

Your doctor may want to do surgery to reduce fluid in the bursa. This is a relatively common practice when inflammation and fluid are present. A course of NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, are often recommended to reduce chronic inflammation. Some patients report getting relief from things like Capsaicin creams. Some people report getting a bit of relief by using turmeric capsules as well. Without a doubt, these things are only like placing a band-aid on a broken bone. Surgery and physical therapy are likely the best ways to reduce pain.

Surgical Intervention

Arthroscopy of the joint is a minimally invasive surgery. A scope is introduced into the joint so that debris can be seen and cleared. Arthritis eats away at the tissue within joints. After extended periods of time, the tissues break down into small pieces that float around inside the joint. This causes the grinding and popping you hear when you have arthritis. You will hear the same sounds coming from other joints as you age; knees, for example, are also prone to arthritis.

In some cases, the arthroscopy will not work. It may help for a short-term fix. The long-term fix may need to be a replacement of the joint. There are several options for this now and should be discussed with your physician in depth.