The Norway office has transitioned to MaineHealth Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Their phone number is 207.393.3157.

You might not think about your shoulder joint much until it starts hurting even when you attempt simple tasks like cleaning, getting something down off a high shelf, or simply waving to a neighbor. There are many reasons why you might experience shoulder pain, including:

  • Arthritis: Put simply, this is inflammation of the joint — though there are a few different causes, and they behave differently. Arthritis has no cure, but there are many treatment options that can help you stay active.
  • Fractures: The parts of the shoulder susceptible to fracturing are the shoulder blade (scapula) and collarbone (clavicle); this is particularly common in high-speed car collisions. (Dislocations, which involve separation of the shoulder bones from each other, are more commonly caused by falling.)
  • Labral tear / SLAP tear: The labrum is a rim of strong, fibrous tissue around the shoulder socket. It helps to stabilize the shoulder joint. Tears to the labrum occur most often in collisions, falls onto an outstretched arm, forceful pulling on the arm, and forceful or rapid arm movement with the arm raised above shoulder height.
  • Joint disorders, including Ehlers-Danlos: Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is an inherited condition that weakens your connective tissues (bones and cartilage, plus other tissues). As a result, your joints may be “loose” and more prone to sprains and dislocations.
  • Sprains and strains: A sprain is an injury to the ligaments and fibrous connective tissue of a joint in the body. A strain is an injury to muscles or tendons.
  • Rotator cuff tears: The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that come together as tendons to form a covering around the head of your upper arm bone (the humerus). Most rotator cuff injuries occur due to repeated wear over time, though it can also occur due to a sudden accident.

You’ve heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? As the seasons change, it’s important to note which activities that you have not participated in for months could put you at new risk.

Right now in Maine, the weather is warming up. A number of popular summer activities can lead to shoulder injuries if you don’t take precautions.

For example, kayaking and paddle boarding require repetitive movements of the arms and shoulders to propel forward. The constant paddling motion places stress on the shoulder joints. Although swimming is low-impact on the knees and ankles, it uses the muscles around the shoulder joints heavily, especially if you swim at competitive levels. Fishing can also lead to potential shoulder injuries.

However, if shoulder pain, stiffness, or swelling is currently compromising your ability to enjoy life and complete everyday tasks, don’t assume it’s something you “just have to live with.” Spectrum Orthopaedics offers a team of board-certified orthopedists who specialize in both surgical and non-surgical shoulder treatments, and who provide an unparalleled level of experience here in Maine.

Shoulder Treatments Available from Spectrum Orthopaedics

In most cases, your orthopedic surgeon at Spectrum will first try a variety of non-invasive ways to improve your range of motion and decrease the level of pain involved. This can include pain management methods such as anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections.

Physical and occupational therapy (PT and OT) are an essential part of any shoulder treatment strategy. These targeted exercises can be used on their own, with or without medication, if you do not need surgery.

You may also be prescribed PT and OT as preparation before surgery to increase your strength and range of motion (prehab), or after surgery as part of your recovery (rehab). PT, OT, and medications are an important multi-pronged approach if you experience shoulder pain after surgery. Studies and our extensive experience show prehab and rehab make vital contributions to a good surgical outcome.

Spectrum’s Orthopaedics also offers minimally invasive surgery, called arthroscopic surgery. This is usually performed in an ambulatory setting, which means you can go home the same day to recover in greater comfort. Spectrum’s orthopedic surgeons perform outpatient procedures at facilities in southern and western Maine, and our ambulatory surgery center was just named the Best Orthopedic and Spine ASC in Maine by U.S. News and World Report.

If your shoulder’s condition warrants it, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend a total joint replacement, particularly for degenerative or arthritic problems. Typically joint replacement surgery is a “last resort” solution.

What Is Shoulder Arthroscopy?

Shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that orthopedic surgeons use to diagnose and treat shoulder problems. During shoulder arthroscopy, your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your shoulder joint. The camera displays pictures on a video monitor, and your surgeon uses these images to guide surgical instruments.

Shoulder arthroscopy may be used for rotator cuff repair, surgery for impingement syndrome (when there is pinching or rubbing in the joint, such as with rotator cuff tendinitis), or surgery for shoulder instability.

Shoulder arthroscopy has become a very common treatment technique. Spectrum orthopaedic surgeon Thomas F. Murray, Jr., MD, actually performed Maine’s first arthroscopic rotator cuff repair 20 years ago, and has since performed over 2,000 procedures. But he is not the only highly trained and experienced orthpaedic surgeon at Spectrum.

Is There a Shoulder Pain Doctor Near Me?

Our full roster of orthopaedic physicians who can treat shoulder pain includes:

  • Eric Hoffman, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a subspecialty certificate in orthopedic sports medicine.
  • Christopher Lonegan, DO, is a board-certified sports medicine physician who specializes in the treatment of non-surgical sports-related and other musculoskeletal injuries.
  • Thomas F. Murray, Jr., MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery
  • Christopher Regnier, DO, is a board-certified sports medicine physician and osteopathic manipulative treatment.
  • Bryce Wolf, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine and arthroplasty of the knee and shoulder.

All of these skilled physicians treat shoulder injuries, and they practice in communities across southern Maine: Portland, Brunswick, and Windham.

Remember: you don’t have to just grin and bear it if you’re experiencing shoulder pain that impacts your ability enjoy your life! Contact Spectrum Orthopaedics and let us become part of your team to better health.

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