Shoulder Care

The shoulder is the most movable joint in the body, but its flexibility makes it prone to both sudden injury and chronic wear. The leading causes of shoulder pain are bursitis, tendinitis and irritated rotator cuff.


The rotator cuff, a group of tendons and muscles deep in the shoulder, help stabilize the upper arm bone in the shoulder joint and rotate the arm.

When the arm is raised repeatedly overhead, the tendons rub against the underside of the shoulder bone and become irritated.


The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that cushions the rotator cuff tendons from the shoulder bone. An irritated bursa is caused by an inflamed rotator cuff.

When inflamed, the bursa produces extra fluid, the sac expands and the pressure creates pain.

Irritated Rotator Cuff

Excessive wear on the rotator cuff can lead to severe irritation, roughening and eventually ulceration and tearing of the cuff. An irritated rotator cuff feels like a clicking or popping in the shoulder and can produce arm weakness.

Symptoms of all these conditions include continuous dull ache in the shoulder that can become sharp pain when you try to move your arm, especially overhead. Pain may be worse at night or after frequent use of your shoulder.

Nonsurgical Treatments

Avoid strenuous activity and any motion that causes pain. A shoulder sling may help rest muscles and tendons.

Thermal Therapy
Putting ice on your shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes at a time can reduce pain and inflammation. After two or three days, when pain and inflammation have improved, applying hot packs or heating pads for 20 minutes at a time may relax tight muscles.

Anti-Inflammatory Medicines

Cortisone Injections 
Can reduce swelling and inflammation causing pain.

Physical Therapy 
Exercise, electrical stimulation, ultrasound and massage can help you regain motion.


A common, minimally invasive surgical technique used most often for the knee and shoulder. During surgery a small incision is made and a scope (arthroscope) inserted.

Photographic images are transmitted to a video screen allowing the surgeon to get a close-up view of the area being studied for both diagnosis and corrective surgery. One or more additional incisions are made to correct the condition. Arthroscopic procedures typically mean a speedier recovery.

Shoulder Replacement
Shoulder joint replacement can be done one of two ways at The Hospital of Central Connecticut.

With the traditional procedure, the bones of the upper arm and shoulder are replaced with a ball or socket or capped with metal if the damage is less severe. The newer reverse shoulder reverses the ball and socket components in patients suffering from severe arthritis or irreparable rotator cuff injuries.