Common Shoulder Problems

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Common Shoulder Problems

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The shoulder had long remained a neglected joint. With recent advances in medical imaging and specialization in shoulder surgery by some orthopaedic doctors there has been a tremendous improvement in diagnosing and treating various shoulder problems.

Shoulder can be a source of severe pain or mild irritating discomfort, especially in doing overhead activites. It may keep the patient awake at night. With a painful shoulder patients may find that doing simple day to day activites such as changing clothes, combing hair, reaching out for things may become difficult.

But now solution is at hand. Dr Gaurav Gupta – Arthroscopy, Sports Injuries & Joint Reconstruction Specialist at Kolkata who has spent several years in Australia & UK treating all types of shoulder and knee problems answers common questions

Question: What are the common shoulder problems?

Answer: Based on the age of the patient, most common shoulder problems are:

Young age: Shoulder Dislocation, Biceps problems, Tendon tears

Middle age: Frozen Shoulder, Impingement

Old age: Arthritis, Rotator Cuff tear

Question: What are the common symptoms of the shoulder problems?

Answer: Common shoulder symptoms include:

  1. Pain, especially at night time or doing overhead activites.
  2. Pain in shoulder region, which can go to elbow or neck, and is usually mis diagnosed as cervical pain
  3. Decrease in shoulder movements
  4. Shoulder joint dislocates again and again in recurrent dislocation.

Question: How can these be diagnosed?

Answer: You need to see a shoulder specialist who will examine your shoulder. Then, based on the findings, he may order investigations such as  X-Rays, Ultrasound scan, MRI scans. Based on these, final diagnosis is achieved.

Question: Are these shoulder problems treatable?

Answer: Most of the shoulder problems are easily treatable. You need to see an orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in shoulder problems.

Question: What are the most common treatment modalities available?

Answer: The commonly used treatment options in shoulder are:

  1. Physiotherapy and exercises
  2. Pain killers
  3. Injection into the joint
  4. Arthroscopic (Keyhole) Surgery
  5. Open shoulder surgery

Question: Is there a role of steroid injection?

Answer: Yes in very few selected cases, 1 or 2 steroid injections can give symptomatic relief. But, more injections are not advisable as they have a harmful effect on the tendons of the shoulder joint. In patients with existing damage to tendons, injections are not advisable

Question: How is the surgery of shoulder performed?

Answer: In today’s time most of the shoulder surgery like repair and reconstruction of tendons, muscles, ligaments is done through key hole, called arthroscopic surgery. Results of arthroscopic surgery because of its minimally invasive nature are superior to conventional open surgery

Question: What are the advantages of doing arthroscopic surgery?

Answer: Since it is done through key holes, arthroscopic surgery is minially invasive, hence it is less painful than open surgery. The recovery is also faster. Besides, the surgeon gets a magnified view of the problem through the arthroscope (camera), hence he can deal with the problem in a better fashion. There is almost zero blood loss and no scarring. Patients can go home the same day or after an overnight stay in the hospital

Question: Can shoulder joint be replaced just as knee replacement?

Answer: Yes, in badly damaged joints, shoulder replacement can be done, similar to knee replacement. Modern day shoulder replacement gives excellent results which match the success rate of hip and knee replacements.

Dr Gaurav Gupta works at Fortis EM Bypass, CMRI Alipore, AMRI Dhakuria. He can be reached at 08017666999

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