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When Does Your Shoulder Pain Need Medical Attention

When pain strikes, it leaves you lost and looking for relief quickly. Shoulder pain is especially tricky, because you use your arm for so many activities throughout the day. But how do you know when that pain is just a nuisance or something more serious?

At Alpha Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, our goal is to get your pain under control so you can continue to enjoy the things you used to. Our skilled orthopedic surgeons help get a diagnosis for your pain and get you on the road to recovery as soon as possible. 

Anatomy of the shoulder

To completely understand where the pain is coming from, you need to know the basic anatomy of your shoulder. Your shoulder is able to move the way it does by two joints — the glenohumeral joint and the acromioclavicular joint. 

Those joints consist of three main bones in the shoulder. The first bone is the clavicle, or collar bone. The second is the scapula, better known as your shoulder blade. The last bone in your shoulder is the upper arm bone, known also as your humerus. These three bones together make up the main components of your shoulder.

There are also several other structures in the shoulder that help it move and function normally. These include muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Some of the common ones include:

All of the bones and other structures work together to give you motion in your shoulder joint. When any of these components becomes injured or inflamed, it can cause pain and decreased function of the joint.

Causes of shoulder pain

Pain in your shoulder can be caused by many different things, and may be acute or chronic. Acute shoulder pain usually comes on suddenly, possibly from an accident or injury. Chronic shoulder pain, however, can start slowly and increase in intensity over time.

If pain is plaguing you on a daily basis, you’re probably trying to figure out the source, going crazy wondering what could be causing you so much discomfort. The truth is, there are a lot of things that can cause you to have discomfort in your shoulder, including:

Arthritis is another very common cause of shoulder pain and stiffness. It can occur over time, or can be due to an underlying inflammatory condition. 

With so many factors that can contribute to pain in your shoulder, it can be hard to figure out when you actually should see a doctor. There are some definitie situations where you should seek medical attention sooner rather than later.

Symptoms requiring medical attention

Most of the time, your pain is manageable with rest and antiinflammatories. However, if your pain continues to get worse, or is not relieved by conservative home measures, it may be wise for you to seek medical care. 

If you’ve sustained an injury to your shoulder and have any of the following symptoms, you should get medical attention to prevent further injury. These symptoms include:

Any of these symptoms could be indicative of a fracture or a tear of one of the tendons in your shoulder. Other symptoms that you may experience that need medical attention include:

If you notice pain that’s accompanied by redness, tenderness, and swelling, seek care as soon as possible. This could indicate you have an infection and need treatment. If you’re ever in doubt of whether or not to see a doctor, always be cautious and seek medical treatment.

Don’t suffer with unbearable pain any longer. Call one of our convenient offices in McKinney, Prosper, or Sherman Texas, or book an appointment online with us today.

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