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Signs Your Shoulder Pain Needs Medical Attention

Whether you’re a sports player, weekend warrior, or you woke up one morning with a sore shoulder, shoulder pain can disrupt your life. What’s more? It’s hard to know when it’s pain from overworked muscles or the sign of something more serious.

At OasisMD in San Diego and Encinitas, California, orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist Dr. Becca Rodriguez Regner specializes in diagnosing and treating shoulder pain. 

Sometimes your shoulder pain resolves with a little rest, ice, and elevation, and you can manage your discomfort with over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications.

Other times, it doesn’t seem to improve, or it comes and goes, making identifying the underlying cause of your shoulder pain a challenge. Sometimes an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan requires physical examinations, X-rays, and advanced imaging techniques. 

So when should you see medication attention? Read on to find out!

Sign #1 — You have symptoms of frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, makes it feel like your shoulder is stuck in a block of ice or like you’re trying to move it through thick glue. This condition results when scar tissue develops over time, reducing your range of motion and causing pain with movement. 

Symptoms of frozen shoulder include:

Sign #2 — You have symptoms of a rotator cuff injury

Repetitive motions can cause rotator cuff injuries. These injuries involve damage to all or any of the ligaments and muscles that make up your shoulder joint, and causes can include sports, like tennis, swimming, and baseball, and occupations or hobbies, like painting.   

Symptoms of a rotator cuff injuries include:

Sign #3 — You have symptoms of arthritis

Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can cause significant shoulder pain. As the cartilage that cushions your shoulder bones wears away from aging, overuse, or genetics, the bones rub against each other, causing pain every time you move your shoulder.

Symptoms of shoulder arthritis include:

Sign #4 — You have any of these symptoms

The common shoulder conditions above may not exactly describe your shoulder pain. That doesn’t mean you don’t need medical attention. 

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Chao or Dr. Gargulinski:

In addition, if you experience shoulder pain accompanied by tightness in your chest or difficulty breathing, it could be a heart attack. In this case, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room. 

If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, the orthopedic and sports medicine specialists at OasisMD can help. Contact our San Diego, Temecula, or Encinitas, California office, or book a consultation online today!

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