Deep, persistent pain in the shoulder can affect young and old alike.
Young, active patients often feel that shoulder pain stems from overuse. Current exercise regimens usually emphasize strengthening the deltoid muscles, but the rotator cuff is largely ignored. If the pain is a chronic problem, with no history of a single traumatic event, the patient will usually respond to strengthening therapy. Persistent symptoms may require imaging studies such as an MRI and occasionally arthroscopic procedure to diagnose and repair the problem via mini incisions and surgery via a fiberoptic camera.
This leads to rapid recovery and minimal pain. Older patients usually suffer from a bursists stemming from a partial or complete rotator cuff tear. On occasion a primary osteoarthritis may be the cause and shoulder replacements are now as successful as hip or knee. Regardless of cause, shoulder pain deserves evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon, particularly a hand and upper extremity specialist in order to speed recovery and avoid misdiagnosis.