Shoulder pain is so prevalent in society as to constitute a virtual epidemic.  According to a 2008 study published in the journal, American Family Physician, an astounding 20% of the population will suffer shoulder pain during their lifetime.

Sources of Shoulder Injury

Injuries are the most common, but not the only cause of shoulder pain. A sudden (acute) injury may occur from a fall on an outstretched arm, a direct blow to the shoulder, or abnormal twisting or bending of the shoulder.  In addition, Shoulder injuries can also be caused by repetitive trauma, also known as overuse trauma, where microscopic injury builds over a long period of time and results in pain and disability. Examples include athletic activities such as swimming, tennis, pitching, and weightlifting. Injuries can also occur during simple everyday activities such washing walls, hanging curtains, and gardening.

Shoulders Are Subject to Injury

Your shoulder joint is composed of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). Shoulders are the most flexible joints in your body, and, due to its ball and socket structure, subject to injury.  To remain in a stable or normal position, the shoulder joint must be secured by muscles, tendons and ligaments. Because the shoulder can become unstable, it is the site of many common problems. These include swelling, weakness, sprains, separations, tendonitis, bursitis, a torn rotator cuff, frozen shoulder, fractures and arthritis.

Treatment for shoulder problems range from rest and icing, to physical therapy, to medication to reduce pain and swelling, and finally, surgery, if more conservative treatment fails.

Rotator Cuff Structure

The rotator cuff is one of the most important components of the shoulder. It is comprised of a group of muscles and tendons that hold the bones of the shoulder joint together. Together, the rotator cuff structure provides individuals with the ability to lift their arm and reach overhead.

Medical Support for Shoulder Injury

The diagnosis, care and treatment of shoulder conditions is a specialty practice, called orthopedics. Within the field of orthopedic medicine are doctors whose practice is concentrated on the shoulder as opposed to general orthopedics.

Chicago is blessed with multiple University Hospital settings and private practice groups which specialize in shoulder injury diagnosis and treatment, among these (but certainly not limited to) are: Northwestern Memorial Hospital, University of Chicago Hospital, University of Illinois Hospital, Rush Medical Center, Loyola Medical Center and Illinois Bone and Joint Institute and Midwest Orthopedics.

Additional Shoulder Injury Information Resources

Below we have assembled information from medical professionals regarding shoulder injuries and treatment, ranging from physical therapy to a video of an actual arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery.  Should you have any questions about your shoulder injury case, or seek legal representation, please feel free to contact the personal injury attorneys at Lipkin & Apter.

Medical Tests for Shoulder Injuries

Physical Therapy Exercises for Shoulder Impingement


Additional Resources:

Overview of Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors of Rotator Cuff Injuries Presented by Mayo Clinic

Video: Rotator Cuff Surgery by Orthopedic Surgical Team from Harvard University