Shoulder pain of 9 months.

Patient

Q: About 9 months ago I started suddenly getting sharp pain down my left arm when I moved my arm outward or backward. When this did not go away, I went for physio and had about 4 months of treatment, mostly to free up the muscles in the shoulder area. This eased the pain a lot and it is now much milder and far less restrictive, but it has not gone away and gets worse with cold air. What else can I try?

Doctor

A:   There are so many causes of shoulder pain, the most common in all age groups are the lesions of the rotator cuff, they represent a wide array of diseases, from acute reversible tendinitis to massive tears involving the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and subscapularis, these are the muscles of the rotator cuff.

The suggested treatment strategy includes: in the acute phase, pain control and inflammation reduction are initially required to allow progression of healing and initiation of an active rehabilitation program. This can be accomplished with a combination of relative rest, icing (20 min, 3-4 times per day), and anti inflammatory medication (“Aleve”). You can sleep with a pillow between the trunk and arm to decrease tension on the supraspinatus tendon and to prevent blood flow compromise in its watershed region. It is strongly recommended continue the pain control techniques at home, work, or vacation as part of the exercise program. The home exercise program builds on itself through each phase of the rehabilitation process, and carry-over should be monitored. Corticosteroids injection locally can be considered if there is no significant improvement after follow the conservative treatment.

Related Q&A

Q: Lower bak pain and generall shoulder pain

Q: I been having constant neck and head pain for almost 7 months now. Woke up one day with terrible headache and stiffed...

Q: I have been having pain in my neck and shoulder for the past 6 weeks after a work accident and all scans have shown n...

Q: I've had multiple shoulder issues, including my latest MRI showing thickening and bursitis. I also now have straighte...

Q: I had an arthroscopic bankart repair on my shoulder in March 2015 with 2 anchors inserted. Within 4 months it was app...

 
DOCTOR ADVISORY BOARD
218

Dr. James Obaji M.D.

  • 247 Reviews
  • Family Physician
173

Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

  • 190 Reviews
  • Family Physician
138

Dr. Pat Golden M.D.

  • 169 Reviews
  • Cardiologist
98

Dr. Kunaal Jindal M.D.

  • 112 Reviews
  • Plastic Surgeon
CNN
BBC
MSNBC
CBS
abcNews
FoxNews