Shoulder & Rotator Cuff Pain
A painful shoulder is more than a nuisance. It can be a nagging source of discomfort that forces you to curtail many of your activities both on and off the playing field.
There are many causes of shoulder pain among athletes and nonathletes alike. These include:
- Bone spurs
- Frozen shoulder
- Pinched nerves
- Swollen tendons
- Torn cartilage
- Impingement syndrome
Rotator cuff tears are a common source of shoulder pain for athletes and physically active individuals.
The rotator cuff is that part of the shoulder that consists of four muscles and their tendons, the strong fibers that connect the muscles to the bones. These shoulder muscles and tendons cover the upper end of the arm bone forming a cuff.
You use the rotator cuff muscles to perform overhead motions, such as lifting your arms or reaching up for something, motions that are used repeatedly during sports, such as pitching a baseball, passing a football, or serving in tennis. The rotator cuff also provides stability when flexing our elbows and lifting heavy objects.
As we age, the risk of rotator cuff tears increases due to the fact that the blood supply to our tendons decreases and the tendons and muscles tend to degenerate and weaken. However, rotator cuff tears can occur in those of all ages due to sudden shoulder movements, fractures, dislocations, or falls. They are particularly prevalent among athletes who overuse their shoulder muscles, such as baseball pitchers or tennis players.
Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear may not be apparent at first, but gradually develop as pain in the front part of your shoulder that may spread down the side of your arm. At first, the pain may seem mild, but increases when you lift your arm or lower it from a fully raised position. More apparent symptoms include:
- A snap and sudden pain caused by a traumatic injury
- Stiffness in your shoulder
- Difficulty moving your arm
- A crackling noise when moving your arm
- Weakness in your arm when you lift or rotate it
- Pain that is worse at night
A doctor can evaluate your shoulder for a rotator cuff tear by performing a physical examination in which you are asked to perform simple movements to assess your muscle strength, joint movement, and shoulder stability. Your doctor may further order X-rays to examine the bones in your shoulder. Another diagnostic option is using an MRI to study the damage to your shoulder.
The good news is that many rotator cuff tears and other shoulder pain conditions can be treated with non-surgical methods including:
- Physical therapy to help restore strength and function
- Prolozone injections
- Shockwave Therapy
- High-Intensity Laser Therapy
- Chiropractic and physical therapy to reduce biomechanical stress and strengthen muscles surrounding the affected joint
- Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy
- Stem Cell Regenerative Therapy
Surgery for a rotator cuff tear may be recommended if non-operative treatments fail to provide significant improvement of your symptoms. If this is needed, a referral to a surgeon we trust will be provided.
Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Pain Treatment in Dallas, TX
Any kind of acute or chronic shoulder pain is bound to make it difficult for you to perform at your best on or off the playing field. At Reagan Integrated Sports Medicine, we have the most advanced, non-surgical solutions for shoulder and rotator cuff pain. Give us a call at (972) 503-7272 to arrange a consultation so we can assess your situation and provide an effective treatment plan. If you prefer, use our convenient online Scheduling App and book now. We look forward to serving you soon.