Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain – Causes

The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints of your body. The wide range of motion of the shoulder across multiple planes makes it prone to injury. Some of the common causes of shoulder pain are:

  • Trauma
  • Manual labor
  • Sports activities
  • Any kind of repetitive movement involving the shoulder joint
  • Age-related wear and tear of the shoulder joint

This can result in:

  • Rotator cuff tendonitis or tears: Inflammation or tearing of the group of tendons that surround and support the shoulder
  • Impingement syndrome: Compression of a nerve in the shoulder resulting in shoulder pain
  • Frozen shoulder: Shoulder pain and stiffness due to injury
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Shoulder dislocation, instability, or fractures

Occasionally, shoulder pain may be experienced along with a serious condition such as a heart attack or a spinal cord injury. This is known as referred shoulder pain.

Shoulder pain – When to seek medical help

If resting and avoiding any activity that aggravates your shoulder pain does not improve your condition, you should seek professional medical help.

Shoulder pain - Diagnosis

A diagnosis of the underlying cause of your shoulder pain will be made by your doctor based on:

  • Discussion of symptoms
  • Medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Imaging studies

Shoulder pain - Treatment

The treatment will depend on the cause of your shoulder pain. The various treatment options include:

  • Rest
  • Applications of ice
  • Activity modification
  • Pain medication
  • Pain injections
  • Shoulder immobilization with the use of a sling
  • Corticosteroids
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Surgery

Shoulder pain – Prevention

Shoulder pain may be prevented by:

  • Performing shoulder exercises which help strengthen and stretch the muscles and supporting structures within the shoulder joint
  • Properly warming up the shoulder before any strenuous activity
  • Limiting the amount of repetitive overhead shoulder movement