Shoulder Q & A

The versatility of your shoulder joint makes it susceptible to a wide range of injuries. Paul Eliot Hughes, MD, offers comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of a variety of shoulder injuries at his orthopedic practice in San Mateo, California. Whether you need repair options for a rotator cuff tear or want relief from arthritis of the shoulder joint, Dr. Hughes and his team offer the options that can improve your chances for long-term pain relief and increased shoulder mobility. Learn more about treatment options for shoulder pain and instability by calling the office or booking an appointment online today.

What causes chronic shoulder pain?

A number of degenerative health conditions and injuries can lead to chronic pain and stiffness in your shoulder joint and surrounding tissue.


Common causes of shoulder pain include:


  • Arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Bicep injuries
  • Rotator-cuff tears
  • Labral tears and degeneration
  • Shoulder-impingement syndrome


To determine the source of your shoulder pain, Dr. Hughes performs a comprehensive physical evaluation and could request imaging tests, like an MRI or X-ray, to confirm a diagnosis.

What is shoulder-impingement syndrome?

Shoulder-impingement syndrome is a condition common in athletes that use their shoulders frequently. It’s often referred to as an overuse injury.


The cause of pain in shoulder impingement is the constant rubbing of your rotator cuff on the upper part of your shoulder every time you lift your arm.

Will I need surgery for chronic shoulder pain?

Depending on your diagnosis, Dr. Hughes will likely recommend nonsurgical therapies, to begin with to improve your shoulder flexibility and alleviate your pain. Nonsurgical treatments include:


  • Physical therapy
  • Heat or ice therapy
  • Stem cell injections
  • Platelet-rich-plasma therapy


If your shoulder joint is seriously damaged due to degenerative disease or injury, Dr. Hughes can recommend minimally invasive surgery, including shoulder arthroscopy.


Arthroscopic shoulder surgery requires small incisions to access the treatment area. Dr. Hughes uses specialized surgical instruments to make repairs to damaged muscles, tendons, and ligaments without causing major trauma to your body.


Minimally invasive shoulder surgery requires less recovery time than traditional surgery and reduces your risk for postsurgical complications, including infections, bleeding, and blood clots.

Can stem cell therapy relieve shoulder pain?

Stem cell therapy is effective at healing your injured or diseased joints from the inside out. By using your body’s own cells, Dr. Hughes can recommend therapy to reduce the severity of pain in your shoulder, prevent inflammation, and delay the need for shoulder surgery.


Stem cell therapy can be useful in treating a variety of common shoulder issues, including arthritis and sports-related injuries. These in-office treatments aren’t painful and require no downtime. You can expect to return to your usual activities following treatment.


Find out more about the benefits of stem cell therapy and minimally invasive surgery for shoulder pain by calling the San Mateo office or booking online today.