Your shoulder is one of the most impressive joints in your body. Its unique structure allows for nearly 360 degrees of movement while still being strong enough to handle significant loads. However, its utility also means that it is vulnerable to trauma. The complexity of the shoulder joint can make it more difficult to treat than other joints. Nonetheless, your orthopedic doctors can offer you a wide range of treatments for your shoulder injury.
Doctors and surgeons can choose from treatment options ranging from conservative methods to surgical approaches. The exact options suitable for you will depend on the nature of your shoulder injury and your overall health.
One common shoulder condition is a rotator cuff injury. Your shoulders contain a capsule of tendons and muscles called the rotator cuff. During movement, your shoulder bones can press into the rotator cuff’s tissues, causing impingement. Repeated or intensive trauma can cause inflammation or even tear the rotator cuff.
Mild shoulder injuries to the rotator cuff can resolve themselves as long as you create an enabling environment for tissue repair. More involved cases require direct intervention through medication and surgery.
For mild injuries, orthopedic surgeons may not recommend surgical treatments. Instead, a combination of rest and inflammation relief will be your target, allowing your body to heal the damaged tissues in your shoulders.
This methodology is captured by the acronym PRICE:
- Ice application
As a patient, you should provide your shoulder rest and protection against additional trauma by restricting unnecessary movement. Meanwhile, cold application, compression, and elevation can reduce swelling and inflammation. Taking these steps can reduce discomfort and hasten the healing process.
Medications that suppress pain and inflammation are also useful in reducing discomfort. Your orthopedic doctor may prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs alongside other conservative treatments. Once you regain some shoulder function, you can better comply with your physical therapy routine.
Most of these medications are meant for oral administration, but you may also have the option to receive steroid injections. This method facilitates more powerful pain relief, allowing patients with chronic pain to resume many of their daily activities. However, steroid injections can lower the success rate of future surgical procedures due to their effect on tissue integrity.
Physical therapy relies on the fact that muscles and connective tissues grow stronger with use. This logic is why exercises are effective at increasing overall strength and well-being.
For shoulder injuries, guided physical therapy exercises can restore mobility and strength to your shoulders. They stimulate tissue growth and repair, making them suitable for hastening your recovery.
Physical therapy is also essential for the recovery process after shoulder surgery.
Various surgical procedures are possible for treating shoulder injuries. The exact method that your orthopedic surgeon will recommend depends on the unique needs of your shoulders.
Open tendon repair is the classic surgical option. In this procedure, your surgeon makes a relatively large incision to gain access to the shoulder joint. Using standard surgical tools, your surgeon can remove damaged tissue to reduce friction and allow for greater movement of the joint. They may also attach any torn tendons or ligaments.
If there is significant damage to the torn tendon, your surgeon may decide to retrieve tendon tissues from nearby joints and transfer them to the shoulder. For extensive injuries, your surgeon may replace the shoulder joint with an artificial joint to restore mobility.
Open tendon surgery provides the greatest amount of physical access to the shoulder. However, since it requires an initial incision that cuts through large areas of tissue, recovery is slower than in other forms of surgery. An alternative is arthroscopic tendon repair, which uses an arthroscope for visualizing the internal shoulder structure and specialized instruments to reattach tissue. As such, smaller incisions can be used, leading to faster recovery and lower risk of complications.
Recommended Orthopedic Surgeon in Michigan
Shoulder injuries respond to many forms of treatment. Mild cases may only require rest and mild physical activity to fully heal. During the recovery period, you may also receive medications to control pain and inflammation. More extensive injuries might require surgery, but even then, there are many available options.
The choice of surgical approach, including if you can opt for an arthroscopic method, depends on the competence of your orthopedic surgeon and the equipment of the treatment facility. Making sure that you work with an experienced surgeon and treatment center with advanced services is crucial for the best medical outcome.
At Movement Orthopedics, our facilities in Clinton Township provide accessible treatment modalities for your orthopedic conditions. With state-of-the-art facilities and skilled orthopedic surgeons in Clinton, we can treat acute and chronic conditions to get you back to your active lifestyle. Learn more by calling us at (586) 436-3785 or by using our online appointment form.