One thing about chronic pain that people don’t understand is how much energy it actually takes out of you. We need to battle chronic pain wherever we see it. Shoulder pain is so common that older folks and older patients are starting to accept it as a simply a state of being, a normal process of aging. This is simply not the case. When someone starts to give up some of their functionality and accepts chronic pain: 1) It takes energy from them. It causes misery. It diminishes their quality of life. 2). When you start to lose function in one area, we see that it then begins the process of overall decreasing mobility. If you have lost the use of your shoulder or lifting your shoulder up over your head, then that tends to decrease your lateral movement. It tends to decrease your head looking up as you would reach over your head. These small losses add up quickly.
I spend a lot of time talking with my patients about the aging process; what is normal, what is abnormal, what can be expected, and really chronic pain in one area of the body is not part of the aging process. Sure there is going to be some stiffness in the morning. There are going to be a few arthritic joints that show up and need some special management and consideration, but those joints are going to be used. Particularly in regard to the shoulder, I see people basically giving up. They have tried to rehabilitate it and the problems have come back. What my patients need is a system they can use in an ongoing way, particularly in regard to the shoulder. Something that they can go back to without having to go to the doctor. We know that rotator cuff disease pathology and inflammation tends to be a chronic process. People get frustrated going to the doctor for the same thing and they get frustrated going to physical therapy for the same thing, and that is another part of this current state of affairs where there are literally millions of people suffering with reduced shoulder function and increased shoulder pain because they have gotten sick of it. We need a better solution.