Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain from Age or Injury?

Shoulder Pain

Is 60 the new 40?

As we get older, the optimists among us say 60 is the new 40! However, the reality of shoulder pain becomes increasingly common. As we roll into our 50’s, there are credible reasons to feel younger than our age. According to psychologists, 50 can be a magic age.

But what if your body doesn’t quite feel that magical?  In today's post, we explore if the cause of your pain is from age or injury.

Diagnosing Shoulder Pain

As we get older, shoulder problems are a very common cause of pain, with nearly a quarter of all people experiencing some sort of discomfort. The problem is more common in women than men, with about 25% of women being affected and 17% of men. The usual culprit is weakness, overuse, or misuse. The most common causes include rotator cuff injuries, bursitis,  frozen shoulder, and osteoarthritis. All of these conditions are treatable as soon as they are properly diagnosed.

“My advice is to get shoulder pain checked out by a medical professional,” said Dr. Joseph L. Finstein. “Often, if we catch it early, these issues can be more easily treated.”

A typical visit with Dr. Finstein for shoulder pain will include a series of questions that will help him diagnose the issue. He may ask how long you’ve been dealing with the pain or when you first noticed it. He’ll also want to know more about the activities you perform with that arm and when it bothers you the most. With that information, he’ll be better equipped to pinpoint the problem. 

From there, he’ll use diagnostic tests to determine what kinds of issues may be causing the pain. An X-ray will likely be required to spot potential fractures, bone spurs or calcium deposits that may be contributing to the discomfort.

“My advice is to always be seen by a medical professional...If we catch it early, these issues can be more easily treated.”
Dr. Joseph L. Finstein

Treating Shoulder Pain

Non-surgical procedures are the preferred method of dealing with shoulder pain. If there is no tear present, the first course of action will likely be medications and physical therapy. Anti-inflammatories, either in pill or injection form, may be used to help reduce the immediate pain. Further treatment depends on the diagnosis. For example, injections and physical therapy are often all that are needed to get a patient with bursitis back up and active. 

While Dr. Finstein considers surgical options a last resort in most cases, sometimes they are necessary. In case of a shoulder fracture or a rotator cuff tear, surgery will likely be needed to repair the damage and start the healing process. It may also be required in extreme cases of other conditions.

Pontchartrain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine offers a full spectrum of shoulder pain treatment options, including:

“If patients are plateauing, or otherwise not making progress and having significant shoulder pain after trying all of the other alternatives, then surgery is a good option,” Dr. Finstein said. “It’s all pathologically dependent.”

Shoulder Pain

The benefits of seeing a Shoulder Specialist

Dr. Finstein stresses that one of the most important factors in a successful treatment for shoulder pain is to not wait to seek treatment. Many patients may want to diagnose it on their own or think that it’s something temporary that will heal in time. That’s not always the case, and if it does happen to be a tear in the shoulder, waiting can cause more damage and longer recovery time. In fact, with lesser injuries, an early diagnosis could save you from future surgery.

“Usually, the atraumatic tears, or degenerative-type tears, do very well with physical therapy, and many times, you can avoid surgery,” said Dr. Finstein.

“Usually, the atraumatic tears, or degenerative-type tears, do very well with physical therapy, and many times, you can avoid surgery”
Dr. Joseph L. Finstein

Do you need help with shoulder pain?

Is your shoulder pain keeping you from doing the things you want to do? Don’t make the mistake of trying to diagnose yourself or waiting on it to heal on its own. Call today to set up an appointment with Dr. Finstein and get on the road to recovery.

About the Doctor

Dr. Joseph L. Finstein, MD

Dr. Joseph L. Finstein, MD

Joseph L. Finstein, MD specializes in sports medicine, focusing on shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, foot, and ankle injuries. Dr. Finstein completed his Sports Medicine Fellowship at the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University  He is currently the team physician at De La Salle High School. Prior to joining Pontchartrain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Dr. Finstein assisted in the care of athletes from the Philadelphia Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, Soul and St. Joseph’s University.


This website is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, medical diagnosis, professional opinion, treatment or services to you or any other person. Through this website and links to other websites, Pontchartrain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine provides general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this website, or through links to other sites, is not a substitute for medical care. You should not use this information in place of a visit, call, consultation or the advice of your healthcare provider. Pontchartrain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.