Let a shoulder specialist in Los Angeles help you with any type of shoulder discomfort.
The shoulder is a complex mix of sinewy tissues and muscles held together by a ball-and-socket joint. It’s the shoulder that allows an arm to have a wide range of motion that plays a role in everything from reaching up for items on shelves to swinging a bat. All of these motions make the shoulder susceptible to injury or damage from repetitive movements or underlying conditions like arthritis and tendonitis.
- Our shoulder specialist in Los Angeles welcomes patients experiencing any type of shoulder-related discomfort.
- There are a handful of common issues that often result in a visit to this type of doctor.
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Rotator Cuff Tears
A group of muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint, the rotator cuff is what keeps the ball of the arm bone near the shoulder in the shallow socket. Work-related repetitious overhead movements, excessive stress from sports-related activities, and age-related wear are among the factors that may contribute to rotator cuff tears.
Tenderness in the front of the shoulder and deep tissue aches are some of the symptoms a shoulder specialist in Los Angeles often looks for when diagnosing a rotator cuff injury. Treatment, which may involve injections, physical therapy exercises, and arthroscopic tendon repair, will depend on the extent of the tissue damage, a patient’s activity level, and overall patient health. Surgery may be recommended if symptoms aren’t improving after 6-12 months, or if the tear is severe and affecting shoulder mobility.
Dislocation or Instability
The most mobile joint in the body, the shoulder is in a position where it may become dislocated under the right circumstances. An injury, such as a hard fall, may cause the arm bone and the adjacent cup-shaped socket to become either dislocated or unstable. Possible complications include Bankart lesions and labral tears.
Weakness and/or numbness and tingling sensations in or around the affected shoulder are among the common signs of a shoulder dislocation. If there isn’t a complete dislocation, pain may be felt with certain arm movements. A severe dislocation may result in intense pain and cause the shoulder to appear visibly out of place. A shoulder specialist in Los Angeles typically treats a dislocated shoulder with anti-inflammatory medications, immobilization, closed reduction, therapeutic PT, and, when necessary, surgery.
Stiffness and shoulder pain are common signs of “frozen shoulder” (adhesive capsulitis). Caused by inflammation, scarring, or shrinkage of the capsule around the shoulder joint, frozen shoulder is a three-stage condition. It starts with the initial inflammation stage where pain is usually noticed with normal shoulder movements. Pain may decrease in the frozen stage, but this is usually when range of motion is affected the most. During the thawing stage, range of motion gradually returns.
The goal with frozen shoulder treatment is to improve range of motion for patients and minimize discomfort as much as possible. A Los Angeles shoulder specialist may recommend shoulder stretches and other exercises, hot or cold applications, corticosteroid injections, or shoulder manipulation performed under a general anesthetic. If conservative treatments aren’t effective, shoulder arthroscopy may be performed to remove scar tissue or adhesions.
Of the hundred or so types of arthritis, it’s osteoarthritis that often affects shoulders. It’s a progressive condition that causes the outer covering (articular cartilage) of bones in the shoulder to wear down over time. As cartilage continue to deteriorate, friction increases within the shoulder joint, often resulting in pain that’s felt with certain shoulder movements.
A shoulder pain specialist can confirm if a patient’s shoulder pain is due to osteoarthritis with a thorough examination and image tests. Depending on the extent of the damage to the joint, treatment recommendations may include lifestyle changes, activity modification, passive and active physical therapy techniques, and anti-inflammatory medications. Patients may also benefit from shoulder injections. Surgical treatments may include an arthroscopic procedure that “cleans out” the joint or, in severe cases, joint replacement (arthroplasty). Shoulders may also be affected by post-traumatic arthritis (PA) following a sudden injury. With rheumatoid arthritis (RA), both shoulders are usually affected.
In addition to the above issues, a shoulder specialist in Los Angeles also diagnoses and treats tumors, infections, and other less-common causes of shoulder pain. If surgery is necessary, patients are typically directed to procedures that are as minimally invasive as possible. While every possible source of shoulder pain can’t be prevented, being proactive by maintaining proper form when playing sports and being mindful of diet and exercise habits can help keep shoulders healthy and fully functioning. But when a problem does arise, take comfort in knowing that a shoulder specialist in Los Angeles is prepared to offer patient-specific solutions.