Shoulder Labrum Tear

When you seek shoulder labrum pain treatment you need something that works because it impacts your life in so many ways. The labrum is the fibrocartilage that helps keep the ball of the joint in place. When this rubbery tissue that is on the rim of the shoulder socket gets torn you experience pain and loose stability of the joint. This can be the result of an injury or just age.

Shoulder Labrum Tear

Anytime you hear the word “tear” attached with one of your body parts, you’re likely to cringe. Our bodies aren’t supposed to tear, but sometimes they do–and when it happens, it hurts.

So, if you have a shoulder labrum tear, you’re likely in pain and looking for an explanation as to how this happened and what you can do to fix it.

While you may be feeling anxious and overwhelmed with your diagnosis, you can take solace in knowing that shoulder tears are common, and there are effective treatment methods. In fact, there are new treatments available to injured patients all over the country that are proven to help heal your shoulder labrum tear quickly and effectively without surgical intervention.

Regenerative medicine, or stem cell injections, have received a lot of media attention over the past decade, and for good reason—it works! Let’s discuss labrum tear specifics and how stem cells may be a viable treatment option for you.

Type of Shoulder Labrum Tear?

First up, what’s the shoulder labrum? It’s a type of cartilage found in the shoulder joint. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket type joint where your arm meets the rest of your body.

Your arm bone forms a ball at your shoulder where it meets the socket, which is a part of your shoulder blade. Here, these two bones are connected by ligaments, which are tough tissues that hold your bones together.

There’s a shallow, opening in the socket-like portion of your shoulder where your labrum is located—this is called the glenoid. A shoulder labrum tear can happen anywhere around the glenoid. If this sounds a little complicated, it is! Our shoulders are incredible structures that allow us to move our arms in complete 360-degree directions—they’re pretty amazing.

Three main types of tears can occur in your labrum:

  • “SLAP” tear: This is when the tear occurs above the middle of the glenoid. SLAP stands for “superior to labrum, anterior to posterior,” which in simple terms means front to back. This type of tear is common in athletes, like baseball players, who use their arm overhead a lot.
  • Bankart tear: This is when the tear occurs in the lower half of the glenoid socket. This is a common injury in young people with dislocated shoulders.
  • Posterior tear: Lastly, this type of tear happens at the back of the shoulder joint. This is the least common type of shoulder labrum tear, making up only 5-10% of shoulder injuries.

Symptoms of a Labrum Tear

As we mentioned, shoulder tears are usually just as painful as they sound. If any part of your labrum tears, you may feel the following:

  • Catching
  • Popping
  • Grinding
  • Locking
  • Instability
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Loss of strength
  • Pain during activities
  • Increased pain in the evening

Shoulder labrum tears are commonly associated with other shoulder injuries, like a rotator cuff injury, dislocated shoulder, or a torn biceps tendon. When you tear your shoulder labrum, you’ll likely not know exactly what type of injury you’ve suffered until you see your doctor for testing and evaluation.

How is a Labrum Tear Diagnosed?

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms and you suspect that you’ve torn your labrum, you need to visit your doctor ASAP to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan before your situation worsens.

Your doctor will test your range of motion in your shoulder and arm, check your stability, and inquire about your level of pain. If you can pinpoint a cause, your doctor will need to know so that they can better understand how the injury occurred.

Unfortunately, the labrum tissue is too soft to show up in X-rays, but your doctor may still order one to see if they are other injuries contributing to your pain. Your doctor may also order a CT scan or MRI as well to get a closer look at the shoulder.

Some doctors will even use an arthroscopic camera to get a detailed view of your labrum injury. This camera is inserting through a small incision in your skin and can be done right in your doctor’s office.

What’s The Most Effective Treatment Method?

Definitively pinpointing the most effective treatment method for a shoulder labrum tear is tough because each injury and each patient is different.

That being said, here are the most common treatment methods:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Cortisone shots
  • Physical therapy
  • Labrum surgery
  • Regenerative medicine (stem cell shots)

Pain medications and cortisone shots are usually prescribed for those who suffer from minor tears that can be healed on their own if the shoulder is allowed to rest. Your doctor may recommend a sling to keep your shoulder in place and encourage you to avoid using it.

For more serious injuries, your doctor may recommend surgery to fix the tear. Surgery can effectively correct the issue, however, there are several risk factors and the recovery time can take 9-12 months, which is very disheartening for those who are looking to get back to daily activities or sports quickly.

Stem cell shots, while still relatively new to the medical world, have proven to be a safe and reliable way to effectively repair the injured joint with little to no pain and recovery time. Everyone from athletes who need to get back out on the field quickly to the elderly who want to enjoy their last years to the fullest is opting for this all-nature treatment method and seeing amazing results.

Let’s cover this topic a bit more indepth:

Shoulder Labrum Tear

If you’ve been diagnosed with a shoulder labrum tear, your first thought might be “what the heck is a shoulder labrum?” Prior to the onset of your shoulder pain, you probably never gave your shoulder, let alone your shoulder labrum, a thought.

The shoulder labrum is a thick band of tissue that surrounds your shoulder socket and works to help keep your shoulder joint stable. There are different types of labrum tears, as well as different levels of pain and limitation you can experience from your tear.

In this article, we’re going to discuss what your shoulder labrum is, what it does, how a shoulder labrum tear is treated, and whether or not the treatment options available are effective.

What’s Your Shoulder Labrum?

Your shoulder labrum is a piece of soft cartilage that’s located in the socket-shaped joint of your shoulder bone. It surrounds the ball-shaped joint that’s located at the top of your upper arm and connects your two joints. There’s also a group of four muscles that helps the labrum keep the ball in the socket called the rotator cuff. These muscles allow your upper arm and shoulder to rotate.

Your shoulder labrum sees a lot of use every single day, so injuring your labrum can happen easily either through traumatic injury or repetitive motion.

Type of Shoulder Labrum Tears

Before we get into what kinds of tears are possible, it’s important that you understand what the glenoid is. The glenoid is the shallow, socket-type opening of the shoulder where you’ll find your labrum. Shoulder labrum tears can happen anywhere around the glenoid socket.

There are three different types of labrum tears that you may experience:

  • Slap tear or lesion: This type of tear occurs when the tear is above the middle of the glenoid. SLAP stands for “superior labrum, anterior to posterior,” which, in laymen’s terms, means front to back. This type of tear is common in baseball players, tennis players, and anyone who frequently lifts their arms over their heads.
  • Bankart tear: This type of tear occurs when there is damage to their lower half of the glenoid socket. This type of tear is most common among young people who dislocated their shoulders.
  • Posterior labrum tear: This type of tear is the result of an injury to the back of the shoulder joint. This type of tear rare, occurring in only about 5-10 percent of shoulder tears.

What Causes a Shoulder Labrum Tear?

There are a few different situations that can cause your shoulder labrum to tear, let’s explore them:

  1. Overuse: When you use your shoulder daily, making the same motion over and over again, it can cause a tear in your labrum. An example would be having an occupation that requires you to repeat an overhead motion continuously.
  2. Wear and year: It’s natural as we age that our joints will begin to show their age, too. We use our shoulders much more than we realize on a daily basis and that everyday use will eventually begin to take its toll.
  3. Injury: Whether you slip and catch yourself with an outstretched arm to catch your fall or you’re involved in a car accident and dislocate your arm, injuries to your shoulder can easily result in a labrum tear.

How to Treat a Shoulder Labrum Tear

Depending on the severity of your labrum tear and your pain level, there are several treatment options that you have to choose from or that may be prescribed to you by your doctor. We’ll go through the most common treatment methods next.

Anti-Inflammatory Pain Medications

Doctors often immediately prescribe shoulder injury patients anti-inflammatory pain medications to dull the pain and decrease any swelling. These pain medications can be habit-forming, which has played a major role in the opioid crisis we have in the US today. The other problem with pain medications is that they only serve to mask the pain, not cure the problem.

Physical Therapy

Once your pain is under control with the help of pain medications, your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist who will show you exercises that will help to build and strengthen your muscles back up. This treatment can be effective, however, it’s a long-term commitment and requires your strict adherence to your physical therapy plan which typically includes multiple therapy sessions each week for months.

Cortisone Shots

Another option for pain management is a cortisone shot injected directly into your shoulder. Cortisone shots are effective at numbing the pain and discomfort you’re feeling, however, studies have shown that long-term use of this treatment actually leads to deterioration of the joints.

Surgery

Labrum tears can be repaired surgically, often arthroscopically. During the procedure, the surgeon will identify the torn part of your labrum and either repair or reattach it. Surgery should be a last resort option as it involves many risks and long, painful recovery time. 

Regenerative Cell Therapy

Regenerative cell therapy, or stem cell therapy, is a new medical breakthrough that’s giving shoulder labrum tear sufferers new hope for a faster, more effective recovery. Stem cells, taken from the tissue of a healthy umbilical cord, are concentrated and injected directly into your shoulder in an outpatient procedure.

Stem cells are a completely natural treatment for a shoulder labrum tear, and it can accelerate the body’s own inflammatory response to repair the damage. Stem cells have the unique ability to treat the entire shoulder capsule, not only repairing the labrum but also protecting it from damage and instability caused by compromised ligaments and tendons.

Shoulder labrum tear patients all over should feel relieved and hopeful that there’s a less invasive, potentially more effective alternative to shoulder surgery on the rise.

Is Stem Cell Treatment For Shoulder Labrum Tears Right for You?

Stem cells, while very promising, are not a magic elixir. Without giving false hope, we can confidently say that It’s a viable treatment option to safely and effectively way to treat joint damage.

If you’re looking to get more information about stem cell treatments and if it’s a smart treatment option for you, give us a call or attend one of our seminars to find out more!