Shoulder Treatments To Try Before Considering Surgery

Some shoulder pain can be so excruciating that you are willing to do anything to make it stop, even going right to surgery. Before you jump right in to an invasive surgical treatment, there are numerous conservative shoulder treatments to try that just might create a sense of relief. 

It Hurts When I Do This…

Remember the old joke where the patient says “It only hurts when I do this.” And the doctor replies, “Then stop doing that!”

woman experiencing shoulder pain

The nugget of truth within is that when something hurts, it’s best to stop using it, especially if it’s a shoulder. Instead, make it as immobile as you can with a sling and give it the opportunity to heal.

Use OTC Anti-inflammatory Meds

Reduce the inflammation and pain with OTC anti-inflammatory meds like Aleve or Advil. Though this shouldn’t be a permanent solution, you may find quick, temporary relief from your pain. 

Pull Out The Ice Pack

Using ice will reduce pain in the shoulder by stopping swelling. Be careful to move the ice pack around the affected area and only keep it in place for 15 – 20 minutes at a time.

Engage In  Physical Therapy

Once the pain and swelling is reduced, physical therapy will allow you to return to your normal activities. The ultimate goal should be to strengthen the muscles around the rotator cuff and restore flexibility and full range of motion.

Cortisone Injection

Speak to Dr. Samuel Koo about the efficacy of having a cortisone injection.

When It’s Time To Talk With Your Doctor About Surgery

If after trying all of the above treatments your pain has not improved, it might be time to talk with your doctor about shoulder surgery.

In addition, the following symptoms suggest the injury is significant enough to discuss possible surgery.

  • If you sustain an injury which causes deformity of the shoulder joint
  • When you cannot carry objects or use your arm
  • If the pain keeps you awake at night or while resting
  • Fever, redness, warmth, or any other signs of infection
  • Swelling or bruising around the shoulder joint or arm
  • When you cannot raise your arm
  • Significant pain that lasts more than a few days
  • If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, it is time to make an appointment with your doctor.

Contact Dr. Samuel Koo if you are experiencing severe shoulder pain and the inability to move your arm.

Request an Appointment

COVID-19 Update

4/21/20 Update: Effective immediately, Dr. Koo is seeing patients through telehealth visits and in-person visits at our clinic. Call today to schedule your appointment!

Dr. Samuel Koo is closely following the most up-to-date announcements and information on the known cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Because this information is always changing, we will be monitoring all updated from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control.

To better serve you, Dr. Koo is now proud to offer virtual visits. With telehealth, you can meet with Dr. Koo from the comfort and safety of your own home. Please call our office today to learn more about this service or to schedule an appointment.

As of last Friday the governor of Washington state issued a declaration that all non-urgent or emergent surgical cases be postponed until the week of May 18th. For more information, please reach out to our office at (425) 823-4000.

Here are a few additional resources as well:

World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control