Shoulder pain that lasts longer than three months is considered chronic. Chronic shoulder pain can prevent you from performing routine activities, such as dressing yourself, and it can impact your mood, sleep, and overall well-being. If you suffer from chronic shoulder pain, you are not alone. An analysis of population surveys in a 2015 NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) publication about shoulder disorders revealed that shoulder pain affects 18 to 26 percent of adults at some point in their life. The following are some answers to common shoulder pain questions:
What Causes Chronic Shoulder Pain?
Chronic shoulder pain often occurs when there is damage from overuse or injury to one or more parts of the shoulder including the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the joint. Common physical conditions that can result in chronic shoulder pain include rotator cuff disorders (e.g., tendinopathy, partial rotator cuff tear, complete rotator cuff tear), adhesive capsulitis, as well as shoulder instability or arthritis. Chronic disease can also sometimes cause damage to the shoulder that results in pain.
How Does a Doctor Diagnose the Cause of my Shoulder Pain?
Because shoulder pain can involve different parts of the shoulder and can have many causes, a physical examination of the joint is key. Most likely an orthopedic specialist will evaluate your shoulder. He or she will likely work your shoulder to assess range of motion, strength, and resilience. They also may order x-rays, an MRI, CT scan, or a diagnostic ultrasound.
What Are the Treatment Options for Shoulder Pain?
There are both non-surgical and surgical treatment options for shoulder pain. Generally, your physician will explore non-surgical or “conservative” treatment options first to see if they provide relief before considering surgery.
Common non-surgical treatments for shoulder pain include:
- Lifestyle adjustments (e.g., modified exercise or diet)
- Physical therapy
- Orthobiologics (a natural substance that may help an injury heal faster)
- Corticosteroid injections
- Peripheral nerve stimulation
Surgical treatments for shoulder pain can vary based on whether there is an immediate need for surgery, the severity of your injury, and if previous, more conservative approaches, have failed. Your overall health and age may also factor into the surgical options available to you.
Can SPRINT PNS Work for Chronic Shoulder Pain?
Yes, the SPRINT Peripheral Nerve Stimulation (PNS) System can be used to treat chronic shoulder pain. A relatively new, non-surgical option for treating chronic shoulder pain, SPRINT PNS, is a good option for patients who are not ideal candidates for surgery or for those who wish to avoid surgery. SPRINT PNS is a proven short-term treatment designed to provide sustained relief for chronic pain. It is important to note, though, that the pain relief each patient may experience from SPRINT PNS is unique and varies by patient.
SPRINT PNS treatment works by stimulating the affected nerve(s), sending mild electrical pulses that may cause the pain centers in the brain to be reset. It does not take away the cause of the pain, but is uniquely designed to, over time, reset the way the brain processes pain signals.
SPRINT PNS has been studied extensively for chronic shoulder pain, as well as for other chronic pain conditions. In fact, across clinical studies, a majority of the patients who participated in the studies reported sustained pain relief.
If other non-surgical treatments aren’t working for your chronic shoulder pain, SPRINT PNS may be an appropriate next step if surgery is not an option. Find a doctor near you to discuss whether SPRINT PNS is a good choice for you.
SPRINT PNS Shoulder Pain Patients Share Their Stories
See what these shoulder pain patients have to say about their experience with SPRINT PNS for treating their pain:
Hank – SPRINT PNS for chronic shoulder pain
“The pain went away the very next day. I was worried about having it removed after the 60-day treatment period, but the pain has gone away and stayed away.” – Kim, SPRINT PNS for chronic shoulder pain from CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome)
You can find moreSPRINT PNS System shoulder pain patient stories here.