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Piercing Shoulder Pain When Getting Dressed?

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

Imagine being able to do push-ups and pull-ups whenever you want.

Now imagine doing that for 20 years without any sort of ache or pain.

Then, one day, out of nowhere your shoulder started to ache and you can only do 20 push ups instead of 100 without pain. That’s an 80% decrease in strength!

Pull-ups have been diminished to nothing, even passive hanging is painful now.

Then the pain gets so debilitating that you can’t tuck your shirt in or raise your arms over your head.

This patient is an executive and always pushing himself forward. But, what if you are a stay at home parent and continually pushing yourself to the edge. You make no time for yourself and eventually you start to breakdown. Now, those who rely on you are affected because you’re not performing your best. Maybe they get so bad that nothing will help or maybe you finally seek care for yourself and have success like this story.

This is the story of one of my patients. He had been to one of the top shoulder specialists in Chicago only to be given an incomplete diagnosis. TWICE. The treatment he received was a cortisone injection and steroid pack. Needless to say those didn’t help his pain at all.

When he came to me his shoulder was in bad shape. The pain was described as sharp, piercing, and even throbbing at times.

At worst the pain would climb to 9/10. Even getting dressed caused a pain rating of 7/10! Imagine putting your shirt on and it hurting so much you had to work around it to stay out of pain. His pain was so bad that his first goal was to be able to get dressed without pain.

I knew his first job was to give the patient a proper diagnosis as he had been previously underserved.

On the exam, his shoulder was only functioning at 66% function! No wonder his shoulder hurt, it scored a D. Further orthopedic testing revealed signs of tendon damage to the rotator cuff. This patient had moderate to severe amounts of adhesion that I knew and could fix but an MRI needed to be ordered as well. This would put the prognosis in proper context so the patient could understand his problem. The results, multiple tendons were wearing out and the labrum was tearing.

What could be done with a shoulder that bad? A lot.

First, adhesion needed to be treated to improve range of motion and decompress the shoulder joint. Then, the rotator cuff muscles and tendons needed to be strengthened to help stabilize the joint. Over a series of 14 visits, Dr. Schultz and his assistant restored this patients range of motion to 90+% and improved his strength dramatically. This patient got so much better that he could cross-country ski upwards of 12 miles without shoulder pain!

What was missed? The diagnosis.

More times than not our patients have either been misdiagnosed or not given a diagnosis at all. When either of those are the case, any treatment will prove ineffective and useless for the patient.

Our doctors always make sure each of their patients get a complete and accurate diagnosis. If you have tried multiple treatments or even surgeries and still haven’t improved, it’s because of 1 thing. The diagnosis is wrong or has been missed.

This isn’t to disparage other providers, but rather pointing out the need for MSK specialties and paying attention.

If you are ready for a complete and accurate diagnosis, be like my patient and schedule your first step to living pain free!

Tel: 808 319 1387

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