Imaging studies. Your doctor may order imaging tests to confirm a diagnosis and identify other conditions. X-ray image. This image will show any damage to the bones that make up the shoulder joint. Magnetic resonance imaging. This imaging test shows the soft tissues better. It will help your doctor recognize damage to the ligaments and tendons surrounding your shoulder joint.
Chronic shoulder instability is usually first treated conservatively. If these methods do not relieve pain or reduce instability, surgery may be required. Your doctor will plan a treatment regimen to relieve you of your symptoms. It usually takes several months of conservative treatment to determine if it is working. Conservative treatment methods include:
- Change in activity. You need to make a few lifestyle changes and avoid any activity that worsens your symptoms.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen will reduce pain and swelling.
- Physical therapy. Strengthening the shoulder muscles and working to control arm movement can increase joint stability.
- Your therapist will schedule a home exercise program.
Surgery is usually necessary to reconstruct broken or stretched ligaments so that they can better hold the shoulder joint in the correct position.
Arthroscopy: The soft tissues of the shoulder can be repaired using miniature tools and small incisions. It is a one-day or outpatient procedure. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure. Your doctor will look inside the joint with a miniature camera and perform the procedure using special thin tools.
Open method surgery: Some patients may require open access surgery. This entails making a larger incision over the shoulder and performing the surgery directly under visual control.
After surgery, your arm can be temporarily immobilized with a sling. After taking off the sling, you will begin exercising to rehabilitate the ligaments. This will improve your arm’s range of motion and prevent scarring of the ligaments during healing. Exercises to strengthen your shoulder will be gradually introduced into the rehabilitation program. Follow your doctor’s instructions for the treatment program.
Exercises appropriately adapted to the treatment program are extremely important after the surgery. See what the sample exercises look like. Although it is a slow process, your involvement in physical therapy is the most important factor in getting you back to your daily activities.
Shoulder pain is a common condition. Its most common cause is micro-overload, leading to minor injuries to the soft tissues surrounding the joint (bursa, rotator cuff). They arise in the course of everyday use of the hand or during sports activities that require a high involvement of the shoulder (volleyball, throwing sports).