Shoulder Injury Treatments

At Seaview, our board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic shoulder specialists offer shoulder pain treatments to treat any shoulder injury. Patients who have ongoing shoulder pain in which cannot be managed with nonsurgical treatment options are evaluated and treated with the utmost compassion and understanding. For some patients, nonsurgical treatments like anti-inflammatory medications, altering activities, rest, and physical therapy may be sufficient, but for others, those treatments have not helped.

What most people call the shoulder is really several joints that combine with tendons and muscles to allow a wide range of motion to the arm—from scratching your back to throwing the perfect pitch. Mobility has its price, however. It may lead to increasing problems with instability or impingement of soft tissue, resulting in pain. You may feel pain only when the shoulder is moved or all of the time. The pain may be temporary and disappear in a short time, or it may continue and require medical diagnosis and treatment.

Pain Management

Most problems in the shoulder involve the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, rather than the bones. Athletes are especially susceptible to shoulder problems. In athletes, shoulder problems can develop slowly through repetitive, intensive training routines.

Some people have a tendency to ignore the pain and “play through” a shoulder injury, which only aggravates the condition, and may possibly cause more problems. People also underestimate the extent of their injury because steady pain, weakness in the arm, or limitation of joint motion become almost second nature to them.

Shoulder Conditions

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator cuff injuries are a common cause of shoulder pain. These injuries are common among athletes, but can also occur due to trauma and “wear and tear” over time. Rotator cuff injuries can lead to significant shoulder weakness, and treatment is necessary to correct this problem. Our fellowship-trained and board-certified orthopedic surgeons offer both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for rotator cuff injuries.

Shoulder Instability

Chronic shoulder instability can lead to frequent dislocations, weakness, pain, and loss of shoulder function. Our fellowship-trained and board-certified orthopedic surgeons offer both nonsurgical and surgical treatment options, and perform shoulder stabilization procedures on a regular basis.


A tendon is a cord that connects muscle to bone or other tissue. Most tendinitis is a result of the wearing process that takes place over a period of years, much like the wearing process on the sole of a shoe which eventually splits from overuse.

Generally, tendinitis is one of several types:

  • Acute tendinitis following some overuse problems such as excessive ball throwing and other sports or work-related activities.
  • Chronic tendinitis resulting from degenerative disease or repetitive wear and tear due to age.
  • The splitting and tearing of tendons which may result from acute injury or degenerative changes in the tendons due to advancing age. Rotator cuff injuries are among the most common of these disorders. The rotator cuff is the arrangement of muscles and their tendons which provides shoulder motion and stability.

Sometimes, excessive use of the shoulder leads to inflammation and swelling of a bursa, a condition known as bursitis. Bursas are fluid-filled sacs located around the joints which lessen the friction caused by movement of the shoulder. Bursitis often occurs in association with rotator cuff tendinitis. Sometimes the many tissues in the shoulder become inflamed and painful, limiting the use of the shoulder. The joint may stiffen as a result, a condition called a “frozen shoulder.” Fortunately, with appropriate care, this condition will resolve itself.


Shoulder pain can also result from arthritis. There are many types of arthritis, but generally it involves wear and tear changes with inflammation of the joint, causing swelling, pain and stiffness. Arthritis may be related to sports or work injuries.

Often people avoid shoulder movements in an attempt to lessen the pain arising from these conditions. This sometimes leads to a tightening or stiffening of the soft tissue parts of the joint, resulting in a painful restriction of motion.

Shoulder Pain Treatments

Treatment generally involves altering activities, rest and physical therapy to help you improve shoulder strength and flexibility. Medication may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and reduce pain. If medication, such as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), is prescribed to relieve pain, it should be taken only as directed. Injections of drugs may also be used to treat pain.

Shoulder Surgery

Surgery may be required to resolve shoulder problems; however, most patients with shoulder pain will respond to simple treatment methods such as altering activities, rest, exercise, and medication. Shoulder surgery is the alternative surgical treatment for patients suffering from severe shoulder pain, stiffness, muscle weakness, limited motion, recurring dislocation and some rotator cuff tears.

Common sense solutions, such as avoiding overexertion or overdoing activities in which you normally don’t participate, can help to prevent shoulder pain.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs NSAIDs (Pronounced EN-seds)

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs NSAIDs (Pronounced EN-seds), are a group of drugs that decrease the inflammation (pain and swelling) in arthritic joints. The pain relief from NSAIDs can be quite amazing. Although they are commonly referred to as “arthritis pills,” none of them will in any way influence the outcome of the arthritis.

There are many NSAIDs available, and newer ones are constantly being brought onto the market. The “newest” one is not necessarily the most effective. Most people respond better to one NSAID than to another and have to try several before the “right” one can be found. They all have potentially serious side effects and should only be taken under medical supervision. Most can only be obtained by prescription and are expensive. Common over-the-counter NSAIDS are ibuprofen.

Always take NSAIDs with food or antacids, or with a full glass of water.

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