Maj Spencer
Like many other orthopedic conditions, there is no quick fix for most shoulder injuries. The treatments vary depending on the specific injury, but there are some common approaches to treating many shoulder injuries. Dr. Patel, can you tell us about some of these treatments?

Dr. Patel
Of course, Major Spencer. In general, a provider may suggest wearing a sling or brace to keep your shoulder in place, along with resting your shoulder and icing the injury three or four times per day. After a period of rest, exercise may also be used to improve the range of motion, strengthen muscles, and prevent re-injury.

There are also specific treatments based on the type of injury. For example, to treat a dislocated shoulder, the provider will perform a procedure to place the ball of the humerus back into the socket. If the shoulder dislocates and spontaneously goes back into place, you still need to seek medical care. X-rays should be taken after a shoulder is put back into place to assess for fractures. If the dislocation injures tissues around the shoulder or repeated dislocations are experienced, surgery may be necessary. A shoulder separation may also require surgery if less invasive treatments are unsuccessful.

Tendinitis and bursitis are often treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, which are medicines that can reduce pain and swelling. Along with gentle stretching exercises, corticosteroids may be injected into the shoulder if significant improvement is not seen in the first few weeks.

Treatment for a torn rotator cuff depends on the age and general health of the patient and the severity of the injury. The application of heat or ice may provide some relief, along with medications that reduce pain and swelling. In some cases, electrical stimulation of muscles and nerves, and corticosteroid injections may be used. After a period of rest, exercise may be suggested to improve range of motion, strength, and function. Surgery may be necessary to repair the damage, especially for younger, more active patients.