Skip to main content

Shoulder Pain Specialist

Dr. Matthew Pifer -  - Orthopedic Shoulder Surgeon

Dr. Matthew Pifer

Orthopedic Shoulder Surgeon & Orthopedic Sports Medicine Surgeon located in Santa Barbara, CA

Chronic shoulder pain is debilitating. Matthew Pifer, MD, is a trusted pain specialist who provides effective treatments for shoulder pain in Santa Barbara, California. His mission is to relieve your symptoms and address the underlying cause of your pain. Almost everything you do each day involves the use of your arms or hands, and therefore your shoulders. So, if you experience pain in your shoulder, it’s going to have a major impact on your life. Call Dr. Pifer and his team or book a consultation online today.

Shoulder Pain Q & A

What causes shoulder pain?

Shoulder pain can come from damage or injury to any of the tissues within the joint. Shoulders are one of the larger joints in your body and contain a complicated network of interconnected bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles that all have to work in harmony to enable you to move your arms to their full extent.

Shoulder pain usually arises because of an acute injury that causes instant damage to one or more of the tissues within your shoulder, or because of a gradual deterioration of the tissues that takes place over a longer period.

What conditions commonly cause shoulder pain?

With the coming together of so many tissues within the shoulder joint, as well as the shoulder blade, there are many possible reasons why you might develop shoulder pain.

Some of the most common causes include:


Arthritis has many forms, but they all cause painful, swollen joints due to the loss of cartilage that protects the ends of the bones within the joint. The age-related wear-and-tear condition osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is the most common form.


Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons caused by overusing your shoulder at work or when playing sports. Any activity that involves making repetitive movements of your arms, from playing tennis to golfing or working as an interior decorator, can result in the overuse of the shoulder and make it painful to lift your arm.


Bursae are the fluid-filled sacs that help protect the bones inside your shoulder joint. They can become inflamed if there’s friction from nearby tendons, making it painful to use your arms above head height.


A dislocation occurs when the upper arm bone or humerus gets dislodged from the socket in your scapula or shoulder blade. Dislocation stretches all the soft tissues, so it’s likely that if you dislocate your shoulder, you’ll have ligament or tendon damage as well. This type of damage to the soft tissues around the shoulder joint is called a rotator cuff tear.

Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, develops when your arm doesn’t get used for long periods, such as when you sustain an injury and have to wear a cast or sling.

How is shoulder pain treated?

Treatment of shoulder pain varies according to its cause, but the options available at Dr. Pifer’s practice include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Pain relief medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Stretching exercises
  • Cortisone injections
  • Regenerative medicine (PRP & Stem Cells)

If you’re suffering from shoulder pain, visit Matthew Pifer, MD, for the most advanced pain management. Call the office or schedule an appointment online today.