Baptist Health Richmond: Relieving Shoulder Pain
Orthopedist Robert Nolan, MD, describes the causes of shoulder pain, outlining the different types of advanced treatments and therapies used to help patients find relief.
Relieving Shoulder Pain Health Talks Transcript
Robert Nolan, MD, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
The rotator cuff is a series of muscles in the shoulder. So, the shoulder in kind of an interesting joint because it moves in so many different directions, more than any other joint in the body, and it depends on each one of those muscles and tendons to keep it in balance as it’s moving, and oftentimes, imbalance can occur when one tendon is not working or one is overstressed, it gets thin, it can start to tear, and that’s frequently what brings people to see us, is tears in the tendons of the shoulder. Once we’ve figured out what the problem is, then we come at it from a different number of angles to try to get that pain to go away. Physical therapy’s a key role in that. They use heat, electrical stem, ultrasound, ice, stretching. And then once you progress through the treatment such as the therapy, tried medications, injections, you’re not getting better, you do the MRI, you find you have a tear — we have a lot of different options to try to improve the situation in your shoulder with surgical techniques that are much better than they used to be 20 years ago.
Repairing things have gotten much better with anchors and sutures that we have available. Small incisions, you can almost look into the shoulder like you’re looking through a keyhole in a door. You put a little camera through and you look inside and you can see much detail, so you can see structures that are torn, loose, spurs. So your goal is to make it normal again, but oftentimes you end up improving it, and they feel better. They can do the things they want to do. They’re not limited by the pain in their shoulder.
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