Don’t Shoulder This Alone

August 01, 2011
NHRMC orthopedic experts advise on pain relief and improved function for shoulder pain

It’s a condition not unique to big league pitchers or tournament-winning golfers. In fact, shoulder pain affects an estimated one in five Americans at some point in their lives. Fortunately for residents of southeastern North Carolina and beyond, there’s the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Orthopedic Center at Cape Fear Hospital, home to some of the state’s finest orthopedic and joint replacement specialists.

Below, orthopedic surgeon and shoulder specialist Dr. Shawn Hocker of Atlantic Orthopedics responds to a few frequently asked questions about shoulder pain, its causes and treatment options.

What causes shoulder pain?
As a ball-and-socket joint with a large range of movement, the shoulder is prone to a variety of injuries and conditions, including strains, tendinitis, dislocation, muscle damage and arthritis.

When should I seek treatment?
Medical treatment for shoulder pain should be considered when the degree of pain interferes with normal daily activities or impedes quality of life. This is especially true when pain is present during rest or sleep.

What are the treatment options - surgical and non-surgical?
Non-surgical treatments can include physical therapy, prescription or over-the-counter medications to help relieve pain and promote better function. If pain is chronic, options may include surgical repair or replacement of the joint and its surrounding tissues.

What can I expect after surgery in terms of quality of life?
Depending on the therapy or treatment, patients with shoulder pain can expect a return to normal activities. For some patients, lifestyle management by limiting activities known to exacerbateshoulder pain will be key in preventing its progression.

Ask Your Question Online

Now, residents of Southeastern North Carolina can get expert advice from NHRMC’s orthopedic experts at the stroke of a key by visiting Submit a question by email, and an orthopedic expert will respond promptly to your particular healthcare question or concern. In addition, learn more about our nationally ranked orthopedic center and get access to a list of all orthopedic physicians.