In most cases, shoulder pain will go away with time and some simple self-care measures. However, there are times when shoulder pain should not be ignored and may require professional attention.
If you are experiencing any of the following warning signs, it’s important to see a doctor or physiotherapist:
You can’t move your arm or lift your hand
If you can’t raise your hand or move your arm, it might be an indication of major nerve or tendon/muscle damage in the shoulder. This is particularly dangerous if you are unable to bend or close your fingers.
Left untreated, major nerve damage in the shoulder can lead to permanent muscle dysfunction and weakness. This can be a seriously debilitating injury that could have been avoided by simply seeing your doctor or physiotherapist.
It hurts just to rest on the shoulder
If it’s painful to sleep or rest on the shoulder, it might be a sign of rotator cuff damage. Rotator cuff damage can cause severe pain and a decrease in mobility. If left untreated, it can lead to long-term problems and even disability.
The rotator cuff is made up of several muscles and tendons that help you raise your arm. If these muscles or tendons are damaged, they can cause significant discomfort and disability.
You feel pain more at night
If the pain gets worse at night, it could be a sign of a condition called adhesive capsulitis.
Adhesive capsulitis, also known as frozen shoulder, is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder. It typically affects people between the ages of 40 and 60, and it is more common in women than men. The cause of adhesive capsulitis is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by inflammation or scarring in the shoulder joint.
This is a condition that causes the shoulder joint to become stiff and difficult to move, with the pain being more intense at night. If you’re experiencing this type of pain, see a doctor or physiotherapist. Adhesive capsulitis can sometimes be treated with physiotherapy or injections, but in some cases it may require surgery to release the scar tissue.
The pain is persistent and does not go away with self-care measures
Shoulder pain that lasts more than three days should not be ignored. It could be caused by something as harmless as muscle strain or tendon.
If the pain does not go away with self-care measures, it may be a sign of a more serious condition. Persistent shoulder pain can be a symptom of bursitis or tendonitis. These conditions often have to do with overuse and can become progressively worse if left untreated. If this type of pain is persistent, it’s time to seek medical attention.
There is a lump or deformity in your shoulder area
Lumps or deformities in the shoulder area could indicate rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious condition that can cause pain, inflammation, and damage to the joints.
It is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive disease, which means that it often gets worse over time if left untreated.
If it’s hard for you to move your arm because of pain, or if you notice lumps in your shoulder area, see a doctor or physiotherapist right away.
The Earlier You Seek Help, the Better
If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, it’s important to see a doctor or physiotherapist for evaluation and treatment. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent further damage and ensure a quick and successful recovery.
Dr. M. Daniel Hatch, a physician with The Orthopedic Partners, understands how difficult it can be for patients with shoulder and elbow pain to find a solution that works. He provides personalized orthopedic care and is ready to take care of your needs.
It is important for Dr. Hatch to thoroughly evaluate each patient in order to provide the most effective treatment possible. Through years of experience and elbow and shoulder injuries, he has developed an understanding of what will work best with your unique situation.
To make an appointment with Dr. Hatch, contact us today.