Shoulder pain can be more than annoying. Downright debilitating at times, this common orthopedic complaint requires expert diagnosis and treatment. Here at North Virginia Orthopaedic Specialists in Manassas and Haymarket, VA, your team of five board-certified surgeons uncover the reasons for shoulder discomfort and dysfunction. Read on to learn more!
The complexities of the shoulder
It facilitates everything from throwing a ball, to lifting a shopping bag, to styling your hair. Made up of an intricate system of bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, your shoulder joint is incredibly strong and flexible. However, it is subject to a wide range of acute, overuse and age-related injuries, too.
These problems fall into four basic categories, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:
- Soft tissue tears, stretching, and inflammation
- Fractures (generally of the clavicle, shoulder blade, or upper arm)
- Arthritis and bursitis
- Joint instability (dislocation as an example)
Additionally, people talk a lot about rotator cuff issues. The rotator cuff is a collection of muscles and tendons which attach the upper arm to the shoulder blade. With the prevalence of today's active and sports-minded lifestyles, rotator cuff injuries are very common.
Your shoulder examination
If you're having shoulder pain, your physician at North Virginia Orthopaedic Specialists in Manassas and Haymarket, VA, will do a complete examination right in-office. There, they will discuss your medical history, including any orthopaedic injuries. The doctor will evaluate your level of pain and range of motion, amongst other factors.
The physician also uses precise testing to pinpoint the reasons for your pain and to formulate the best treatment plan possible. Testing may include:
- Digital X-ray imaging
- CT scans of the bones
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the soft tissues of the shoulder
- Electrical testing (electromylogram) to look at nerve function
- Arthroscopy, a minor surgery which uses a tiny camera to image the interior of the shoulder joint
Because your shoulder is complex, treating it takes time and patience. While your doctor may recommend something as simple as changing your work or exercise routine, physical therapy and/or surgery may also be the proper route. However, rest assured that your orthopaedic physician will discuss your care plan with you, allowing you both to agree on the best course of action.
Find out more
Don't suffer from shoulder pain—get your life back now. Phone Northern Virginia Orthopaedic Specialists at (703) 369-9070, today!