Our orthopaedic specialists offer surgical and nonsurgical options to address shoulder pain and injury. Our goal is to help you get back to your normal activities as quickly — and safely — as possible.

MU Health Care’s shoulder specialists are experts in diagnosing and treating the injuries and conditions that cause shoulder pain.

In fact, other area orthopaedic surgeons refer to our specialists to handle the most complex shoulder issues. As orthopaedic researchers, our surgeons can offer the latest treatments and recovery options, including outpatient shoulder replacements. We’ll work with you to determine treatment option for your specific case.

If you’ve recently hurt your shoulder or you’re looking for relief for shoulder pain, call us at 573-882-BONE (2663) to set up an appointment today.

Causes of shoulder pain

There are many conditions and injuries that cause shoulder pain. The shoulder is one of the most injured joints during falls, accidents and sports.

Shoulder pain causes include:

  • Broken arm or collarbone
  • Bursitis
  • Dislocated shoulder
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Overuse injury
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Shoulder impingement
  • Shoulder instability
  • Superior labrum, anterior to posterior (SLAP) tear
  • Tendonitis

The best way to diagnose and treat shoulder pain is to work with an orthopaedic surgeon. Our doctors will help you understand the reason for your pain.

Diagnosing shoulder pain

Our doctors will ask questions about your pain, including any activities that make it feel better or worse.

They also will do a physical exam to look for injuries that may be causing your shoulder pain. Your doctor may ask you to complete certain movements to help rule out other issues, too.

Your doctor also may ask for several tests to get a better look at your shoulder and the tendons, nerves and tissues that surround it. This may include getting additional imaging, such as a CT or MRI scan.

Shoulder pain treatment at MU Health Care

Our doctors take a personalized approach to shoulder care. They will work with you to create a treatment plan that you are comfortable with. We will consider your age, activity level, and personal goals when considering the best treatment plan for you.

Together, we’ll decide on a plan that gets you back to your normal activities. Your treatment plan may include some of the following:

Nonsurgical shoulder pain treatments


Some medications can be injected into the joint to reduce pain and inflammation. Doctors may use cortisone (a steroid) to reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor will let you know which injection works best for you.

Injury prevention

Your doctor may recommend a program to help you with posture and proper form for activities that cause your pain. This can range from improving your chair posture to tips to avoid stress injuries at work. This can help you avoid pain from coming back or getting worse.

Oral medication

Your doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, muscle relaxers or other medications, depending on the cause of your pain or injury. We focus on treatment plans that avoid the use of narcotics (opioids).

Physical therapy and rehabilitation

MU Health Care’s physical therapy team can create a program of exercises and stretches to help you gain flexibility and strength in and around the shoulder. We’ll coordinate your rehabilitation so you can get back to normal activities faster.

Surgical shoulder pain treatments

When nonsurgical options don’t work, MU Health Care’s surgeons can repair ligaments, tendons and bones.

Most shoulder surgeries at MU Health Care are outpatient (including shoulder replacement in some patients) and can be performed using minimally invasive techniques. Minimally invasive surgeries mean you spend less time in surgery, experience less pain and recover faster.

Our expert surgeons specialize in complex cases and commonly perform the following procedures:

  • Shoulder replacement (conventional and reverse)
  • Arthroscopic rotator repair
  • Arthroscopic labral repair
  • Frozen shoulder surgery
  • Fracture and dislocation repair
  • And many more

Additionally, our specialists will collaborate to bring you seamless care –- from your initial surgical consult to your rehabilitation appointments after surgery.

Monitoring Progress

Your doctor will look at your progress during regular checkups and adjust your treatment plan as needed.

That includes communicating with other specialists and therapists who are part of your treatment plan.

For example, based on the progress you’ve made in physical therapy or rehabilitation, our doctors will revise goals and outline next steps.

Expertise in treating shoulder pain and injuries

At MU Health, we have the highest level of surgical expertise in the area –– providing you with the best care close to home. Our surgeons lead and contribute to improvements in shoulder treatment and surgery methods. Our ongoing research means you’ll have access to the latest improvements in care.

As experts in all forms of shoulder surgery, we successfully treat the most complex cases. This includes performing shoulder revision surgery for people who are referred by other providers.