Shoulder popping is not always a cause for worry, unless…
It’s not uncommon to feel “pops” or clicks in the shoulder when you move it. If there’s no pain you may think it’s nothing to be worried about. Read more to learn if your frequent shoulder popping or cracking may be a sign of an unstable shoulder joint. Learn when you should see a regenerative orthopedic doctor about your shoulder.
The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint that allows the humerus (arm bone) to fit against the scapula (shoulder blade) (4). This joint is a collective system of muscles, tendons, cartilage, and ligaments that allows for controlled movement of the arm (2). A ball-and-socket joint can move forwards, backwards, sideways, and rotate, but it is more sensitive to injury and overuse than other joints because of its wide range of mobility (3,4).
Is Popping a Reason to See a Doctor?
Shoulder popping is not always a cause for worry; sometimes the joint cracks, just like the knuckles (5). However, if a shoulder is “unstable,” that is, regularly popping out of the socket or clicking often, it could be a more serious problem.
If the popping is constant or worrisome, you should consider seeing a doctor to rule out a condition that could worsen.
There is evidence that an unstable shoulder can bring on arthritis more quickly. If left untreated, some shoulder injuries could worsen into “frozen shoulder,” which means that the shoulder is limited in the ways it is able to move (5).
In fact, once you do begin to feel pain, it might have already progressed to arthritis, a labral tear, or another serious problem.
You Definitely Need a Doctor If…
Often, sports accidents or overuse of the shoulder is the cause of injury (2). If you experience painful shoulder popping, a swollen shoulder, or if it feels stiff and reluctant to move, or contrarily, loose and weak, you should contact a medical professional (2).
Similarly, you should seek a doctor for rotator cuff injuries. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that ensures stable and proper movement of the shoulder (3). If the rotator cuff is injured, that is, stretched or torn, it can be very painful and slow to heal.
Consider a Regenerative Orthopedic Doctor
Your primary care physician, or an orthopedic surgeon may not diagnose subtle shoulder instability correctly. This is because orthopedic surgeons are not trained in options for a shoulder that may have some instability, but not enough instability to warrant shoulder surgery. These doctors are not trying to lead you astray, they simply want to utilize their specialty to help you.
A regenerative orthopedic doctor seeks non-surgical solutions like platelet rich plasma (PRP) or bone marrow concentrate containing your body’s own live stem cells, getting you back to the things you love faster. Surgery is invasive and a long process, especially considering the post-operative recovery time.
A regenerative treatment option for shoulder injuries, including rotator cuff tears, is a Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injection. Platelet procedures are commonly used for soft tissue injuries, mild arthritis, spine conditions, and around nerves.
Regenexx PRP procedures are performed with high-level imaging guidance to ensure the most accurate placements of cells into the desired area. Our advanced platelet procedures are more concentrated and purer than PRP created by the automated machines used at most regenerative medicine clinics, increasing its ability to stimulate the body’s natural healing response.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments are non-invasive medical procedures where platelets will initiate the body’s natural healing process at a much quicker rate of speed than what is typical.
If you have pain or an injury and think a Regenexx procedure might be an alternative to surgery, find out if you’re a candidate today –Tap the “TALK TO AN EXPERT” BUTTON below.