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Orthopedics/shoulder/bicep pain


While wringing out a rag last week, I had severe, stabbing pain in my shoulder.  It was so severe, I couldn't move at all without horrible pain.  I went to the Dr and he said either bursitis or I had torn something in the rotator cuff.  He gave me a shot of morphine and a sling.  The next day the pain was almost gone and within 48 hours it was totally gone.  My question is this; Can bursitis come on instantaneously and quit hurting so quickly? Can a tear react the same way, coming and going so quickly? Will this happen again? Are there precautions I can take?

Thank you

Victoria, It would be very unusual if you were actually given morphine which is a narcotic, especially for something like this. Usually a person will get cortisone and lidocaine injection in the shoulder joint itself and yes if it was bursitis as this is an inflammation of the bursa sac it can help greatly. The condition can certainly come back especially with usage even with a tear you may get some relief with a cortisone injection but not as much and likely you will end up getting an MRI to see if there is a tear. Xrays show bony anatomy they will not show muscles,tendons or tears.


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Joe A Shaw PA-C


Most general questions that have to do with orthopedic and /or occupational medicine or ergonomics. With a focus on upper extremity disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome. After many years of treating and diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome I have developed a detailed website about carpal tunnel syndrome at


I have been a board certified Physician Assistant for 17 years, in the fields of occupational and orthopedic medicine.

American Academy of Physician Assistants, State Academy of Physician Assistants.

Physician Assistant degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine PA program. Bachelor of Health and Science degree. Board Certified Physician Assistant, Ergonomic certification, University of Michigan ergonomics certification. Associate Science degree in Emergency Medical Technology. Former Paramedic, EMT and Firefighter.

Awards and Honors
Current certifications in Advanced Cardiac Life support, and Basic life support, and CPR certification. University of Michigan Ergonomic training and certification.

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