What Are Treatment Options For Shoulder Tendonitis?

Posted on: 24 May 2022

If you have shoulder pain that's worsened by overhead movement of the arm, you should talk to your doctor about tendonitis. Shoulder tendonitis occurs when a tendon—a connective tissue between bone and muscle—becomes inflamed from overuse. If you have a very physical job or play a sport, like volleyball or basketball, that requires you to move your arm overhead repeatedly, you are more likely to develop this condition. Your doctor can diagnose tendonitis with a physical exam and imaging tests. While severe cases of tendonitis may require surgery, there are a lot of conservative treatments to try first, such as physical therapy, ultrasound therapy, and corticosteroid injections

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a beneficial treatment because it is non-invasive and portions of this treatment can be done at home. If tendonitis isn't treated, you could develop a rotator cuff tear or frozen shoulder, so physical therapy is a great preventative tool. You may meet with a physical therapist for a period of time, but then you may be able to continue stretches and exercises at home. Physical therapy is a great way to strengthen your shoulder joint and improve your range of motion. Your physical therapist may prescribe a number of stretches, like internal rotations stretches or cross-body stretches, to do on our own. Your physical therapist can also provide you with a shoulder pulley, which is an apparatus that can be used to safely perform over-the-head exercises and strengthen the shoulder joint.

Corticosteroid Injections

Corticosteroid injections are a type of anti-inflammatory drug that are often used to treat rheumatologic diseases, like arthritis. While NSAID medications are helpful at controlling tendonitis pain, corticosteroid injections are usually more effective for tendonitis for up to a 9-month period. Ideally, a patient's tendonitis will resolve after a brief length of injections, as prolonged injections aren't recommended since they can weaken the tendon. Your doctor might recommend corticosteroid injections in conjunction with physical therapy or ultrasound therapy.

Ultrasound Therapy

Ultrasound therapy devices use sound waves to penetrate and warm soft tissues. This treatment is meant to improve circulation and mitigate pain in the shoulder area. This therapy is especially helpful for patients who have developed calcific shoulder tendonitis, which means that besides developing inflammation, a person also develops a buildup of calcium deposits that can increase pain responses. One study found that this therapy could actually eliminate calcifications and provide symptomatic relief.

These are just a few treatments that could help your shoulder pain from tendonitis. Reach out to a health and medical provider in your area for more details, like Sports and Orthopedic Specialists.