Common Conditions Treated

We rely on our shoulders for everyday tasks, such as pushing, pulling, and lifting. It’s no surprise then that when shoulder pain strikes, it can be very debilitating. Whether you’ve suffered a sports-related injury or simply the wear and tear of daily life, shoulder pain can keep you from doing what you love most.

At Crystal Clinic, our physicians treat a wide range of both common and complex shoulder problems. The most frequently seen conditions are described below.

Arthritis

Inflammation from arthritis of the shoulder causes pain and stiffness, which is aggravated by activity and progressively worsens. One of the most common symptoms is limited range of motion. Initial treatment of shoulder arthritis is nonsurgical and may include rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and cortisone injections. Surgery may be considered if none of those treatments are effective.

Bursitis / Impingement / Tendinitis

Shoulder pain is another common issue our shoulder specialists see. It can be caused by any number of issues, including an acute injury, arthritis, tendon inflammation (bursitis or tendinitis), fractures, or instability. Shoulder impingement is also referred to as swimmer’s shoulder, tennis shoulder or rotator cuff tendinitis. Impingement is inflammation of the shoulder tendons and muscles between the bones in the shoulder. Symptoms may include difficulty reaching up behind the back, shoulder weakness, pain at night and discomfort when the arms are extended above the head. Treatments include ice, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, injections and an organized physical therapy program. 

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

This condition causes pain, stiffness and progressive loss of motion in the shoulder. It most commonly affects people between the ages of 40 and 60. It is more common in women than men. Symptoms include dull or aching pain over the outer shoulder area that is usually worse early in the disease and when you move your arm. The causes of frozen shoulder are not fully understood; however, it is more common with people who have diabetes and thyroid disease. Most people respond well to treatments such as over-the-counter medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), cortisone injections, and physical therapy. Surgery may be necessary if those conservative treatments don’t work. 

Fractures

Crystal Clinic treats simple to complex fractures of the shoulder. A fracture is a partial or complete break in the bone. Bone fractures are often caused by falls, trauma, or as a result of a direct blow or kick to the body. Overuse or repetitive motions can cause stress fractures. Fractures can also be caused by diseases that weaken the bone. These include osteoporosis or cancer in the bones. The main goal of treatment is to put the pieces of bone back in place so the bone can heal. This can be done with a splint, cast, surgery, or traction.

Rotator Cuff Tears

Every year millions of people visit their physician due to shoulder injuries. One of the most important parts of your shoulder, your rotator cuff, consists of muscles and tendons that hold your shoulder in place and help you lift and rotate your arm. A rotator cuff tear is a common cause of pain and disability among adults.

Common injuries to the rotator occur from lifting a heavy object or suffering a traumatic fall, but most rotator cuff problems develop over time because of the degenerative wear and tear that comes with aging. That is why most rotator cuff injuries are commonly seen in patients over the age of 40.

Symptoms can include recurrent pain, especially with certain activities; pain that prevents you from sleeping; grating or cracking sounds when moving your arm; a limited ability to move your arm; and muscle weakness. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is often used as a helpful tool in appropriately diagnosing and managing rotator cuff injuries.

Rotator cuff injuries may respond to non-surgical, conservative treatment. Nonsurgical management of shoulder injuries includes rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and an occasional cortisone injection.  However, if nonsurgical treatments are not effective or you have a significant tear, surgery may be necessary.  

Shoulder Instability / Dislocation

As the most moveable joint in the body, the shoulder helps us to lift and rotate our arms, reach over our heads and turn in many directions. With great range of motion comes greater chances of instability. Shoulder instability happens when the upper arm bone comes out of the shoulder socket. This can occur from a sudden injury or overuse. In some people, their shoulders repeatedly slip out of place. This is known as chronic shoulder instability.