Your shoulder has a wide range of movement and the potential for injury if overexerted. Over 7.5 million people visited the doctor for a shoulder problem in 2016, so a shoulder issue is more common than you may think. Keep reading to learn when and why you should see an orthopedic doctor for shoulder pain.
What can cause shoulder pain?
Sports that involve excessive, repetitive, overhead motion such as tennis, swimming, and weightlifting or even household activities like gardening can cause shoulder pain. This pain can be the result of an injury like a ligament, tendon, muscle tear or possibly a bone fracture. Shoulder arthritis can also cause pain due to the damage of cartilage in the shoulder joint. Another common cause of shoulder pain is bursitis, or inflammation of fluid-filled sacs in the joints.
When should you see the doctor for shoulder pain?
Regardless of what is causing your pain, if you are experiencing the below symptoms you should see a doctor immediately:
- Lack of strength
- Intense pain
- Sudden swelling
- Reduced range of motion
But, you shouldn’t just go to your family doctor or a general practitioner. It is recommended that you seek the professional advice of an orthopedic doctor for shoulder pain.
Note: If you are experiencing difficulty breathing or a sudden tightness in your chest along with a sudden onset of shoulder pain, you could be experiencing a heart attack. Seek medical attention right away and call 911.
How does an orthopedic doctor treat shoulder pain?
Since orthopedic doctors specialize in the musculoskeletal system, they have comprehensive training on the various types of joints including the shoulder. This knowledge also includes all of the specific muscles, nerves, bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage that make up your joints. Oftentimes, problems in the shoulder involve muscles, ligaments, and tendons, rather than the bones. Orthopedic doctors have a extensive knowledge about connective tissue and understand how to treat this tissue more so than a general practitioner. This knowledge allows them to identify a specific point of injury or cause of pain and provide the best treatment plan for you.
Seeing an orthopedic doctor for shoulder pain is the best decision you can make to ensure you heal and get your full range of motion back. When evaluating your shoulder pain, you can expect to have an X-Ray, MRI scan, blood test, or a physical exam. Treatment can include bracing or casting, physical therapy, prescription medicine, steroid shots, or surgery if necessary. Self-diagnosing and home treatment can only get you so far in your recovery without the oversight of a licensed medical professional. Now that you know the best doctor for shoulder pain is an Orthopedist, schedule your consultation at Lake Pointe Orthopaedics today.