A shoulder bone spur does not always necessitate treatment. One is not even aware of having one. In some cases, a bone spur can impair the rotator cuff tendons responsible for mobilizing the shoulder. This results to swelling, pain, tears or inflammation.
The bone spurs might develop along with aging and arthritis, trauma or repetitive overuse of the arm. It is vital to seek treatment if the individual loses his/her ability to move the shoulder or if the discomfort does not seem to settle in a few days.
Conservative treatment for a shoulder bone spur
For a mild case of shoulder pain due to the bone spurs, it can be managed at home. In case the shoulder discomfort was due to a recent injury or trauma, the application of ice should be effective during the initial 24-48 hours after the injury.
Heat can also be used to promote the flow of blood to the shoulder region and encourage healing. This is usually effective for a shoulder bone spur brought about by ongoing conditions such as arthritis.
If prescribed by the doctor, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help provide relief to the discomfort.
Modification of activities
The daily activities of the individual might intensify the pain caused by the bone spurs. This is true if certain activities require overhead movements. In case these activities could not be avoided, the individual should briefly change how they are done.
Even sleeping can be difficult if the shoulder is sore. Resting on the unaffected side with a cushion beneath the affected arm can reduce the pain while sleeping.
In case the conservative measures are ineffective, the doctor might prescribe oral steroids or inject directly into the shoulder joint.
Physical therapy modalities are also useful such as low-level laser therapy, ultrasound and electrical stimulation along with exercise that improve the shoulder strength and movement.
A shoulder bone spur that decreases the range of motion or crush on the nerves might necessitate surgery. Any tears in the rotator cuff tendons can be fixed with the removal of the bone spurs.
Depending on the severity of the damage, surgery might be done arthroscopically or require a bigger incision. Among younger individuals, arthroscopic surgery is generally carried out. In addition, physical therapy is needed to help improve the range of motion and strength after the surgical procedure.