News & Features


Shouldering the pain

Shoulder pain is an extremely common complaint. It affects people of different ages, occupation and activity levels.
Shoulder pain can be nearly debilitating. The pain can be severe with movement, like combing hair, undo bra, lifting the hand over head or playing sports. The shoulder pain, very often is associated with weakness of upper limb and affect activities of daily living. The pain often worsens at night when lying on the back or on the affected shoulder. These can affect sleep and a restful night.

The rotator cuff is not only the most important structure for proper shoulder joint function, it is also the most commonly injured structure that is causing pain in the shoulder. Bankart’s lesion, tear labrum, impingement syndrome and frozen shoulder are some of the other causes of shoulder pain.

Treatment of shoulder problems consists of analgesic, physiotherapy and sometimes surgery.

If surgery is indicated, it should be done by new all-arthroscopic shoulder procedures and an open shoulder surgery should be avoided.

The new all-arthroscopic (key-hole) surgical repairs of tear shoulder tendon requiring about three tiny skin incisions. All-arthroscopy re[air is much safer with minimal post-operative pain. Recovery is faster as the muscles are not cut, but pierced by special small instruments into the shoulder to repair the torn tendon.

Arthroscopic repair of tear cuff tendon is very effective if it is done before the tissue atrophy begins. After about two to three months, a tendon that has fully detached from bone will begin to change into fatty tissue that may never be able to function like a tendon again. It will start to shrink or retract, if the torn rotator cuff is still not repaired. It will not be possible to restore it to its former length if the retraction of thendon is significant.

It is wise to take shoulder pain seriously. Do not hesitate to consult Orthopaedic & Sports Injury Surgeon, If your shoulder pain persists or start tolead to decreased use of shoulder. Early diagnosis and accurate treatment can spare many months of pain and enable patients to return to normal activity.

Dr. Soon Chee Khian
MBBS (Bombay), MS. Ortho (UKM), Post Graduate. Dip. Sports Med. (Aust), AM (Mal)
LohGuanLye Specialists Centre in Penang, Malaysia