One of the most common sources of shoulder pain is calcific tendonitis. It occurs when deposits of hydroxyapatite – crystallized calcium phosphate – forms in shoulder tendons (usually the rotator cuff) and causes inflammation. The pain can be quite severe and lingering.
Nonsurgical Treatments for Calcific Tendonitis
But here’s the good news – most patients suffering from calcific tendonitis can find relief through nonsurgical treatments. It may take three to six months to see improvement, but studies have shown about a 75 percent success rate using several simple steps. These include:
- Physical Therapy/Exercises: Stretching and specific exercises can improve the mechanics and mobility of the shoulder to reduce the risk of frozen shoulder, which is often associated with calcific tendonitis.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Prescribed by your doctor, these can help reduce the pain associated with calcific tendonitis.
- Hot and Cold Compression: The application of moist heat is especially therapeutic in the relief of pain due to calcific tendonitis. While a warm washcloth can provide soothing warmth to the shoulder, an ice pack can help to reduce both pain and inflammation.
Noninvasive Calcific Tendonitis Therapy
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy stimulates blood flow to the affected area of your shoulder. Although it’s not invasive, the acoustic pulse can be painful or create extreme discomfort, so it usually requires anesthesia.
Studies have shown it improved the condition in 50 to 70 percent of patients after just one or two high-energy shockwave treatments.
Minimally Invasive Shoulder Tendonitis Treatment
If the treatment options listed above prove to be unsuccessful, there are minimally invasive alternatives to treat your calcific tendonitis. While they don’t require surgery, they may involve a needle or specialized instruments to address the calcific deposit.
For example, cortisone injections are a powerful anti-inflammatory treatment that delivers medication directly to the source of your pain. These injections help reduce inflammation and pain, allowing you to undergo physical therapy to potentially experience a full recovery from your pain.
Surgical Treatment of Shoulder Tendonitis
If conservative treatment methods are not effective, surgical treatment may be recommended. It is usually performed as an arthroscopic shoulder surgery; but depending on the extent and severity of your condition, open surgical treatment may also be considered.
Usually, the surgeon will attempt to remove at least some, if not all, of the calcium deposit and address the inflammation affecting the tendon.
Contact a Maryland Shoulder Surgeon Today
If you are experiencing the chronic pain of calcific tendonitis or other shoulder condition, selecting a reputable surgeon is one of the best ways to find the relief you need to restore your mobility and lead an active lifestyle again.
The physician staff at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder is highly skilled at performing shoulder diagnoses and surgeries – and we have many years of experience helping patients with a wide range of orthopedic issues. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, call (410) 296-6232 or fill out our simple online appointment request form today. We look forward to serving you.