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What you need to know about shoulder pain — and shoulder surgery

The part of the body we call the shoulder consists of several joints that work with tendons and muscles to allow the arm to move in many directions. We can bowl a perfect game or reach the top shelf thanks to this system of joints, muscles and tendons. However, it is possible to overextend the shoulder and end up with pain. When your shoulder is painful, everyday life activities become difficult.

Four common causes of shoulder pain
Shoulder pain can be caused by several different actions, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Repetitive motions like painting a wall or swimming a long distance can result in bursitis. Bursae are the small, fluid-filled sacs that serve as a cushion between bones and the soft tissues to reduce friction. When the shoulder is used excessively, the cushions can become inflamed and become bursitis. Overusing the shoulder can also cause the tendon that connects the muscle to the bone to become inflamed and painful. This is known as tendinitis.

Some shoulder pain is linked to the rotator cuff, the name used to describe the entire group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. If the rotator cuff becomes impinged or torn, the shoulder will become painful to move. In some cases, spurs may develop that keep the rotator cuff from operating properly.

When the shoulder is impacted during an accident, the head of the upper arm bone can be forced out of the socket resulting in shoulder instability. In some cases, the bones may be fractured and need slings, sprints or even surgery to repair.

The fourth cause for shoulder pain is arthritis, which can gradually destroy the shoulder joint and the surrounding tissue. Arthritis can cause degeneration and tearing within the shoulder joint resulting in considerable pain and loss of movement.

Four solutions to shoulder pain
Shoulder pain can sometimes be addressed with therapy and a modification in shoulder use. But in some cases, surgery is the best option. Arthroscopy may be used for some repairs. For this procedure, a small device with a lens and a light is fed through a small incision to scope out damage. Other small surgical devices are then inserted to make repairs. The other option is open surgery where larger incisions are made to complete repairs or to replace the shoulder. About 53,000 people undergo shoulder replacement surgery each year in the United States.

There are basically four types of shoulder replacement surgeries. The first is a total shoulder replacement where the ball-and-socket surfaces of the shoulder are replaced with prosthesis.

For some patients, a partial shoulder replacement is appropriate. In this procedure, the natural socket is kept but the ball is replaced with a prosthetic ball. Sometime the socket is reshaped and smoothed for a better fit.

If the damage is minimal, shoulder resurfacing may be an option. During this procedure, the damaged ball is covered with a smooth, rounded cap to allow for better joint movement.

When there is severe rotator cuff damage, a reverse shoulder replacement is often performed. This option allows the surgeon to reverse the positions of the shoulder joint’s ball-and-socket. The ball is attached to the shoulder bone instead of the upper arm bone. The socket is attached to the upper arm bone. This new arrangement switches the center of rotation for the joint and enables other muscles to step in and compensate for the damaged rotator cuff.

Recovering from shoulder pain
Shoulder replacement surgery requires a period of targeted physical therapy and wound care for the best outcome. One of the best ways to make sure these needs are met after shoulder replacement surgery or any other surgical procedure is to stay in a short-term care facility where there are attentive professionals present around the clock to attend to recovery needs.

Whitehall of Deerfield’s Elective Orthopedic Pavilion is the North Shore’s premier post-hospital rehabilitation center specializing in joint replacement recovery. Therapy sessions are conducted one-on-one and are designed to meet your specific needs. A state-of-the-art orthopedic gym specially designed for those recovering from joint replacement surgery means you will have access to the latest innovative equipment.

With Whitehall of Deerfield’s full-time, in-house team of compassionate experts, including top therapists and a nurse practitioner, you’ll receive the cutting-edge care and equipment you need to recover faster and to reduce the chance of being re-hospitalized.

The attentive staff also expertly assists with pain management and makes sure all medications are taken on schedule to reduce complications.

At Whitehall of Deerfield’s Elective Orthopedic Pavilion, guests enjoy all-private rooms with luxurious amenities including concierge service, daily delivery of Starbucks coffee and newspaper, dozens of cable channels with a 24-hour channel of newly released movies, an iPad lending service, valet parking for visitors and much more. Guests can also enjoy a wide-ranging choice of cuisine from selective menus as well as a variety of dining settings and even a complimentary ice cream parlor and freshly baked goods.

The Elective Orthopedic Pavilion at Whitehall of Deerfield offers a free orientation on the third Tuesday of every month where you’ll meet their team of experts and discover what it takes to recover successfully.

To learn more or schedule a tour, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.

300 Waukegan Road Deerfield, IL 60015 | 847.945.4600