If rest, medications and physical therapy do not relieve shoulder pain, subacromial injections of a local anesthetic and a cortisone preparation are recommended. These injections are administered to treat various painful conditions of the shoulder, which may develop due to overuse of the joint, injury or aging. The treatment involves the injection of a mixture of anti-inflammatory medication and anesthesia into the area between the acromion, the area of the scapula that forms the highest point of the shoulder, and the head of the humerus. A subacromial injection may be administered at the front, side or rear of the shoulder. Subacromial injections can be very successful in reducing pain and swelling and restoring a fuller range of motion to the shoulder.

Most patients will experience significant pain relief after a subacromial injection. However, those patients whose severe shoulder pain does not respond to subacromial injections may eventually need to consider undergoing surgery.