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When to See a Doctor About Shoulder Pain

Your shoulder hurts after that workout. Or maybe it was painting the room over the weekend and holding your arm up to paint the trim. If your shoulder hurts from overuse, the muscles and tendons may simply need time to recover. Give it a rest. Use ice packs for 20 minutes a few times a day and take over-the-counter pain relievers. 

But if your shoulder pain persists or if you injured your shoulder in an accident and are in pain, have difficulty sleeping, and have lost mobility, it’s time to seek medical help. The New Hampshire Regenerative Center offers expert care for musculoskeletal injuries.  

Following are common shoulder conditions and injuries that require medical intervention. 

Rotator cuff tear

Athletes who play tennis are particularly at risk for rotator cuff injuries because of the repetitive overhead swinging motion using the shoulder. If you work as a painter or hang drywall during the day, you’re also prone to rotator cuff injuries because of shoulder muscle overuse. 

Your shoulder consists of a ball and socket; surrounding muscles and tendons keep the ball in the socket. Those muscles and tendons make up your rotator cuff, and they’re designed to help you move your arm in a variety of ways. 

If you have a mild rotator cuff strain, you may simply need rest and ice. But if you’ve really stretched those muscles and tendons too far, inflammation and pain set in. You may not have full range of motion, and it hurts when you reach overhead. Our medical team at New Hampshire Regenerative Center may prescribe physical therapy. If the pain is severe and you can’t sleep, a cortisone injection can help calm the inflammation and relieve the pain. 

If the damage is more than a strain and tests show you have a full rotator cuff tear, you may benefit from regenerative treatments like stem cell therapy. We inject a special stem cell solution at certain places in your shoulder. The stem cells contain rich growth factors and nutrients that rush to your damaged tissue and start the healing process. 

Frozen shoulder

If your shoulder begins to bother you to the point where you baby it and don’t extend your arm as you normally would, it can become stiff. You may find that it becomes impossible to reach for an item in an overhead kitchen cabinet. You likely have frozen shoulder

The technical name for frozen shoulder is adhesive capsulitis. “Adhesive” is a good description. Scar tissue can develop in your shoulder tissues over a number of weeks or months, causing your arm to become stuck like glue, with little range of motion. 

To treat a frozen shoulder, we may administer a steroid injection that we can repeat at intervals, and we also may recommend physical therapy. Ultrasound during the therapy can help break up the scar tissue. Gentle stretches and exercises help you gradually regain use of your shoulder. 

Many patients benefit from regenerative stem cell therapy once injections and physical therapy have loosened the joint. 

Shoulder arthritis

Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can affect the cartilage in your shoulders. The cartilage cushioning your shoulder bones may wear out due to overuse, normal aging, or genetic factors. You may be bone on bone, which causes chronic pain every time you move. 

If your arthritis is mild, you may benefit from rest, pain meds, steroid injections, and physical therapy. If it’s more severe, regenerative stem cell therapy may help relieve your pain. 

Call us at the New Hampshire Regenerative Center for expert treatment of musculoskeletal injuries or request an appointment using our online system.

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