Shoulder Pain: When to See a Doctor

Shoulder pain is one of the most common complaints in America. It’s no surprise, because, as one of the most used joints in our bodies, it's prone to overuse and injury. If you need help for shoulder pain, board-certified orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert Steven E. Nolan, MD, of Sugar Land, Texas, can help. Here’s what you need to know about shoulder pain

Causes of shoulder pain

Shoulder pain has many different causes. It may start hurting after lifting heavy boxes, shoveling snow, or carrying a child. Or, it could get injured while you’re playing basketball, baseball, football, or tennis. Some common conditions that cause shoulder pain include:

If you have shoulder pain that comes on suddenly and is accompanied by chest tightness, call 9-1-1 or get to an emergency room. These can be signs of a heart attack, so don’t take any chances.

Symptoms of shoulder injuries

People with shoulder pain have different symptoms. It all depends on what’s causing it. You may have any of the following:

When to see a doctor

If you hurt your arm carrying something or playing sports, you should see a shoulder specialist or head to an urgent care or emergency room. You may have an infection or serious injury if you have any of these symptoms:

For mild shoulder pain, you may want to rest your shoulder, apply ice a few times a day, and take over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and lower inflammation. If the pain doesn’t go away or gets worse, Dr. Nolan can help diagnose the cause. He’ll take your health history, do a physical exam, and may order tests like an MRI to see what’s going on inside your body.

How we can help

Depending on the cause of your shoulder pain, Dr. Nolan may recommend rest, ice, medication to ease your pain and lower inflammation, or physical therapy. If none of these conservative measures help, you may need surgery

But don’t worry, Dr. Nolan prefers a minimally invasive type of surgery called arthroscopy when possible. With this type of surgery there’s less cutting, bleeding, and recovery time. That means you’ll get relief faster. With the proper after-care program, you may even be able to resume your normal activity level and play sports again.

If you’re ready to seek help for that nagging shoulder pain, or if you recently suffered an injury, make an appointment to see Dr. Nolan. Request an appointment online or call  281-720-6910 today.

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