A Deep Dive into Shoulder Pain

What causes shoulder pain?

Shoulder injuries are common, often leading to chronic pain and limitations of function. The shoulder is a complex joint with many moving parts that allow for great range of motion. Unfortunately, this makes it less stable and vulnerable to injury. The shoulder joint is stabilized by the rotator cuff tendons, surrounding ligaments and the labrum.  

Tears to the rotator cuff happen often and are a major contributor to shoulder pain. If you have pain when you lift your arm or a snapping/cracking sensation when you move your shoulder you may have an injury to the rotator cuff tendons. 

Injuries to the rotator cuff are divided into different classes depending on the type of tear. They include partial tears, meaning the tear is not completely through the tendon, or full-thickness, meaning the tear is completely through the tendon. Full-thickness tears can be subdivided into being either non-retracted meaning the tendon is still connected partially, or retracted, meaning the tendon has completely separated and the 2 ends are no longer connected. 

Many people with rotator cuff pathology are told that surgery is the only option for them. Thankfully, there are alternative treatments that use your body’s own cells to help repair damaged tissues and relieve pain.

How do we treat Shoulder Pain?

Our Integrative Advantage utilizes a comprehensive team approach to decrease shoulder pain and improve overall function. This treatment will be tailored to the patients’ specific pathology. Treatment options will generally include the following;

Regenerative Medicine Injections are used to stimulate repair and increase stability of the supporting structures including rotator cuff tendons, the shoulder capsule and the labrum. The type of rotator cuff tear will determine the specific regenerative injections used. For small partial thickness tears, we generally use Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), but when the tear is large and full thickness non-retracted we generally recommend Bone Marrow Stem Cell injections. 

Physical Therapy is used to strengthen and re-educate the muscles and ligaments and to improve shoulder range of motion. This is done both before and after any regenerative medicine procedures.

Anti-inflammatory Diet with adequate nutrients to support the healing process along with natural anti-inflammatory supplements

Energy Modalities such as low level laser and PEMF to further support tissue healing, decrease swelling and improve function

Acupuncture is used to decrease pain and improve shoulder function

If you are dealing with shoulder pain and are looking for an alternative to repeated steroid injections and surgery, call for a consultation with Dr. Sebastian and his team to discuss your case.