Shoulder Injury Treatment- Swing Away from the Twinge!

Seek treatment for shoulder injuries!Shoulder injuries are can occur frequently in athletes whose sport involves exorbitant, continuous, overhead motion of the shoulders like swimming [1], tennis, baseball, pitching (throwing) [2]. Daily activities like gardening, washing, hanging, lifting etc. can also lead to shoulder injuries. Take care that you don’t overlook any type of injury to the shoulder even if it begins with mild pain or discomfort. You may not realize it if this minor discomfort boils down to major chronic issue. Hence, early diagnosis is important in order to prevent grievous shoulder injury.

The shoulder joint is a complex joint comprised of different bones, muscles and ligaments. Due to its complexity, it can get injured in multiple ways. There are different types of shoulder injuries such as a rotator cuff tear, fracture of the collarbone, clavicular fracture, shoulder joint dislocation, fracture of the neck of the humerus, etc. These can give you a sharp pain or twinge in the shoulder region, taking away the free swinging motion of your arms.

The following are the various shoulder injury treatments provided by Dr. Shawn Hayden, a Harvard trained orthopedic surgeon at Onto Orthopedics:

Exercise

The surgeon may ask you to do easy exercises to strengthen your shoulders without injuring them. Here are some helpful exercises. Remember that you perform them at your own risk:

  • Push up against the wall: Stand in front of the wall and place your palms on it at shoulder level, 2 feet apart. Make sure that your feet are shoulder width apart and at a comfortable distance away from the wall. Now, slowly do the push up and repeat it ten times. For best results, do this exercise two times daily.
  • Shoulder strengthening: Fasten an elastic band to the door knob or handle at your place. Using one arm start pulling the elastic band slowly towards your body. Hold on to this position for a few seconds and then go back to your starting position. Do this exercise 5 times on each arm at a time and repeat the set twice daily.
  • Shoulder blade squeeze: This exercise can be done in standing or sitting position, making sure that your back is upright. Tuck in your chin slightly and the shoulders are positioned such that they are slightly backwards. Now gradually squeeze your shoulder blades together as much you can, till it does not pain. Maintain this position for few seconds and then come back to the starting position. Do this exercise 10 times every day.
  • Shoulder blade shrug: Stand with your back and neck positioned upright and your arms are on your sides, but slightly away from your body, with palms facing forwards. Now slowly raise your shoulder blade towards your ears as much you can and hold at that position for few seconds. Come back to your starting position and repeat this exercise 10 times.

Medicine

The surgeon may prescribe some anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce pain and swelling, if any.

Surgery

Surgery is the last resort in any shoulder injury treatment plan. If the conservative line of treatment fails or the injury is very serious, then the surgeon may recommend surgery for injuries such as rotator cuff tears, repeated dislocation of the shoulder joint or long standing impingement syndrome [3]. The surgery can often be carried out in 3 different ways. These include open repair, arthroscopic repair and mini-open repair depending on the extent of damage to the shoulder. A surgeon opts for open surgery when the patient comes with a complex large tear that has to be repaired. Arthroscopic surgery is done using a small camera known as arthroscope which is inserted into the shoulder joint to visualise it. Using these images the surgeon fixes the problem using tiny but precise surgical instruments. Arthroscopic surgery is performed with the help of smaller incisions as compared to the open surgery. In mini-open repairs, the incision is very small, around 3-5 cm long. This procedure employs some of the latest technology and instruments. An arthroscope is used in this procedure also.

There are various shoulder injury treatment options available depending on the extent of injury. We recommend seeking medical assistance for long standing pain or mobility issues.

References

  1. Wymore L, Fronek J. Shoulder Functional Performance Status of National Collegiate Athletic Association Swimmers: Baseline Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic Scores. Am J Sports Med. 2015 Mar 19. pii: 0363546515574058. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:25790836
  2. Menge TJ, Byram IR, Boykin RE, Bushnell BD. Labrum and rotator cuff injuries in the throwing athlete. Phys Sportsmed. 2015 Feb;43(1):65-72. doi: 10.1080/00913847.2015.1005546. Epub 2015 Jan 20. PMID:25599876.
  3. Dong W, Goost H, Lin XB, Burger C, Paul C, Wang ZL, Zhang TY, Jiang ZC, Welle K, Kabir K. Treatments for Shoulder Impingement Syndrome: A PRISMA Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2015 Mar;94(10):e510. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000000510. PMID:25761173