During this week’s Facebook Live, Dr. Ala and I talked about shoulder pain. Shoulder pain is a common source of pain. Research has indicated up to 70% of the population experiences shoulder pain at some point in their lifetime. About 25% of those cases report a recurring episode and about 40-50% report recurring pain 12 months from the initial visit.
The shoulder is one of the larger joints in the body and is heavily used in daily activities. This means the shoulder joint is more vulnerable to injury. The shoulder is made up of 2 joints: Acromioclavicular and Glenohumeral joint. The glenohumeral joint is called a ball and socket joint; the humerus head (ball) meets with the glenoid bone (socket). The rotator cuff connects the humerus to the scapula (shoulder blade) with the help of 4 muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and the subscapularis. The glenohumeral joint allows you to reach your arms in front, back, across your body, or out to the side. The acromioclavicular joint connects the clavicle to the acromion (part of the scapula or shoulder blade).
Common conditions affecting the shoulder include: osteoarthritis, rotator cuff tears or tendonitis, biceps tendon tear or tendonitis, labral tears, shoulder impingement syndrome, bursitis, frozen shoulder, and shoulder instability. Typically the cause of shoulder pain is the result of an injury/trauma [sports or auto-accident/whiplash], overuse, or a combination of both.
Traditional conservative approaches to shoulder pain include rest, ice/heat, stretching, physical therapy, and over-the-counter medication (Aleve, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, etc). If conservative methods are ineffective, steroid injections and/or prescription pain medication are used to decrease inflammation and decrease pain sensation, respectively, with the hope of decreasing pain overall. Ultimately, surgery can also be used if previous methods listed are ineffective. Steroids and surgery, however, don’t always address the root cause of shoulder pain. Risks of steroid use in treating joint pain include damage to cartilage, nerve damage, death of nearby bone, joint infection, and thinning of surrounding soft tissues. Steroids also cause a spike in blood sugar which promotes inflammation and in-turn also increases pain. Shoulder surgery, depending on the type, can cost about $55,000. Studies have shown about 1 in 5 individuals who have had shoulder replacement surgery continue to have persistent pain up to 2 years following surgery and over 10% of individuals have persistent pain beyond 2 years. For rotator cuff surgery, up to 94% fail with high retear rates. In other words, these treatments aren’t always the answer and there are other options.
At REVIV, we use a different approach to treating shoulder pain without using steroids, opioids, or surgery. Following a comprehensive evaluation, Dr. Erin compiles a thorough plan to address the root cause of your shoulder pain using minimally invasive methods of treatment. Dr. Erin has different tools in her tool-kit that traditional treatment would not provide. Dr. Erin uses platelet-rich plasma, human cell tissue therapy, trigger therapy, IV nutrition therapy, along with incorporating services Dr. Ala provides: chiropractic, restorative rehab, acupuncture, and cervical decompression. We want to address the cause of your pain and the compensating mechanisms you have created over time to help manage your pain. Our mission is to use responsible medicine, nurture you, address the cause of pain, and approach the issue with other global health concerns you may be experiencing in mind