Pain pumps can provide a sense of relief for a patient with shoulder problems, but the device can also cause severe and irreparable damage. According to a study published in 2006, conducted by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the use of pain pumps may be associated with Postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis, an extremely painful condition that can lead to life-long disability.
Dr. Dale Buchberger, writing for The Auburn Citizen, noted that the shoulder is a remarkable mechanical invention, and it is because of this complexity that problems may arise. He noted that a shoulder needs to be loose enough to function, but tight enough to stay together.
Buchberger noted that this balance presents a problem not only for individuals who are involved in "shoulder dominant" sports, but also for the general population.
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Several injuries can exacerbate the normal pain that an aging individual may feel, according to the article, as falling on an outstretched arm can lead to dislocation, meaning that the ball has come out of the socket and has to be put back in by a medical provider. The bone or cartilage can fracture or tear because of this injury, a problem that poses a greater risk for the older population.
"If the injury did not cause a tear or fracture, there is a good chance that surgery can be avoided. Unfortunately, if a tear has occurred, surgery may be the most efficient route to a satisfactory recovery," Buchberger noted.