Treatments for Common Shoulder Injuries & Conditions

The best remedy for preventing serious shoulder injuries is early detection. An orthopaedic surgeon will often prescribe a series of exercises aimed at strengthening the shoulder muscles. Other treatment may include the prescription of anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain and swelling. When these treatments are not sufficient, surgery may be an option.

Shoulder Arthroscopy

Orthopaedic surgeons perform arthroscopy to inspect, diagnose, and repair problems inside a joint. It can be used to perform a rotator cuff repair, SLAP repair, subacromial decompression, etc. A small camera, called an arthroscope, is inserted into your shoulder joint. The images are used by your surgeon to guide miniature surgical instruments. The benefit is that your surgeon can use very small incisions, rather than the larger incision needed for standard, open surgery, due to the thinness of the arthroscope and surgical instruments. This shortens the time it takes to recover, results in less pain for patients, and is more cosmetically pleasing.

Rotator Cuff Tear Nonsurgical Treatments and Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair

Often nonsurgical treatments that include rest, ice and physical therapy are all that is needed for a rotator cuff tear. Sometimes your doctor might suggest a steroid injection as well. However if the injury is severe and involves a complete tear of the muscle or tendon, a surgical repair may be required.

Surgical options may include a bone spur removal through the use of arthroscopy, where a fiber-optic camera and tools are inserted through very small incisions; a tendon repair or replacement; or in severe cases, a shoulder replacement, known as reverse shoulder arthroplasty.

Shoulder Impingement/Rotator Cuff Tendinitis Nonsurgical Treatments and Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression

Initial treatment is nonsurgical in most cases. Your doctor may suggest rest, medicine, physical therapy, or a steroid injection. Many patients experience a gradual improvement and return to normal activity, although this option may take several weeks to months.

When nonsurgical treatment does not relieve pain, surgery may be an option. Your doctor may remove part of the acromion. This is known as a subacromial decompression. This procedure can be performed by shoulder arthroscopy, where minimally invasive surgical instruments are inserted into one centimeter incisions around your shoulder. Your doctor examines your shoulder through a fiber-optic camera.

Dislocated Shoulder/Shoulder Instability Nonsurgical Treatments and Arthroscopic Capsulorrhaphy

Through a process called “closed reduction,” the doctor will place the ball of the upper arm bone (humerus) back into the joint socket. Once the shoulder joint is back in place, severe shoulder pain stops almost immediately.

Surgical options for shoulder instability include arthroscopic capsulorrhaphy, which utilizes sutures or suture anchors to repair the torn tissue, alleviating instability symptoms.

SLAP Tear Nonsurgical Treatments and Arthroscopic SLAP Repair

Usually, the initial treatment for a SLAP injury is nonsurgical. Treatment options may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain and swelling and physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder.

Your doctor may recommend surgery if your pain does not improve. Shoulder arthroscopy is the surgical technique most commonly used for repairing a SLAP injury. Your surgeon inserts into your shoulder joint a small camera, and then uses the images to guide miniature surgical instruments. Because the surgical instruments are thin, your surgeon can use very small incisions, rather than the larger incision needed for standard, open surgery.

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) Nonsurgical Treatments and Arthroscopic Capsular Release

Treatments can include medications, therapy, steroid injections, shoulder manipulation and surgery.

Over-the-counter pain relievers can help reduce frozen shoulder pain. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe stronger medication or administer a steroid injection. A physical therapist can also assist with frozen shoulder exercises to help regain mobility in the shoulder.

If physical therapy does not resolve the problem, your surgeon may recommend a manipulation under anesthesia and/or shoulder arthroscopy (arthroscopic capsular release). During a manipulation under anesthesia, you are briefly put to sleep. Your surgeon will gently manipulate your shoulder, causing the capsule and scar tissue to stretch, thereby increasing your range of motion. In the shoulder arthroscopy method, the surgeon releases the joint capsule with minimally invasive instruments, allowing the capsule to expand and regain motion.

Shoulder Arthritis (Shoulder Osteoarthritis) Nonsurgical Treatments and Shoulder Replacement

Initial treatment of arthritis of the shoulder is nonsurgical. Your doctor may recommend treatment options that include rest, physical therapy, medication, or corticosteroid injections.

If these treatments do not work, surgery may be an option. Shoulder arthroscopy is a procedure where your surgeon inserts a small camera into the shoulder joint to release adhesions and repair tissue that has been torn or is causing arthritis symptoms.

Advanced arthritis is treated with shoulder joint replacement known as arthroplasty. In this procedure, the arthritic parts of the shoulder are removed and the ball-and-socket joint is replaced with a prosthesis.

Healthy Shoulder Arthritic Shoulder After Surgery Shoulder Implant