Your physician may decide to obtain x-rays or an MRI to look for spurs, arthritis, or a tear of the rotator cuff tendons.
Treatment usually involves rest and avoidance of activities that cause continued irritation. Medications and injections may be used to reduce pain. If stiffness develops, a home stretching exercise program will be initiated. Organized therapy may be prescribed to reduce pain and restore flexibility.
If shoulder pain persists despite nonoperative treatment, your physician may recommend several options. Occasionally, stretching of the stiff shoulder under anesthesia is helpful in restoring mobility and decreasing pain. If your shoulder motion is maintained or restored with exercises but your pain persists, your physician may recommend surgery.
In order to relieve the tendinitis, the space through which the rotator cuff moves is opened, removing any spurs from the undersurface of the acromion (acromioplasty) and removing the thickened bursa. If there is arthritis and spurring of the AC joint, a small section at the end of the collarbone may be removed as well. (Fig. 2)
Your Physician may choose to perform this procedure through an open incision, or through a smaller incision with the aid of a small camera called an arthroscope. The primary advantage of the arthroscopic procedure is that it is less invasive allowing for a more aggressive rehabilitation program with a potentially earlier return to full activity. The surgery is performed under a general anesthetic (you must be put to sleep), along with an anesthetic block to numb the arm.