Shoulder Pain: 10 Common Causes & How to Find Relief

Shoulder pain is more common than you may think. In fact, according to a study, the reported annual incidence of shoulder pain in primary care is 14.7 per 1000 patients per year. Shoulder pain can be caused by a variety of factors including injury, muscle strain, arthritis, or bursitis, which we will discuss more in detail in this article along with tried and tested tips for shoulder pain relief.

What is Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain is a common problem and can be caused by many different things. For instance, It can be caused by injury, wear and tear of the joint, bursitis, or tendonitis. It can also be due to poor posture or an injury from previous surgery. Research suggests that the recurrence rate of shoulder pain is as high as 25% and up to 50% of patients complain of persistent pain.

If the shoulder pain is localized, the duration of pain is minimal. However, if the pain extends or radiates beyond one point, it often results in prolonged and persistent pain along with restricted movements. If you’re experiencing any type of shoulder pain and want to know more about what’s causing it and the best treatment option for you, consult with trained pain specialists.

Why is the Shoulder Susceptible to Injury?

The shoulder joint connects the arm to the torso and includes the ball and socket joint which is made up of three bones: the collarbone (clavicle), shoulder blade (scapula), and upper arm bone (humerus). This joint is an extremely flexible joint that allows for a wide range of motion in all directions. A group of four muscles and their tendons called the rotator cuff, give the shoulder its wide range of motion. These two features make it susceptible to injury because it needs to be protected from sudden movements or overuse.

What are the Symptoms of Shoulder Pain?

Chronic pain in shoulder region may include numbness and tingling in the arm, difficulty rotating the arm outward (lateral rotation), difficulty reaching overhead (behind you), and pain when lifting your arm away from your body. You may also experience pain with certain movements such as throwing a ball or lifting something heavy.

Some other symptoms of shoulder pain include:

  • Deep pain in the shoulder joint
  • Pain in the upper part of the arm
  • Reduced movement
  • Weakness of the shoulder or upper arm
  • Stiffness of the shoulder joint
  • Tingling sensation related to the nerves in the neck

10 Causes of Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can be caused by many different things and it is important to understand the root cause of the pain in order to find a solution. Chronic pain in shoulder is not necessarily caused by problems in the shoulder or associated structures.

Here are 10 common causes of shoulder pain:

    1. Rotator cuff tendinitis or bursitis. The inflammation of the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that aids mobility by reducing friction between bones and surrounding structures, usually results from repetitive movements.
    2. Arthritis in the shoulder joint. This refers to the wear and tear of cartilage, the soft and flexible tissue that covers the ends of your bones and helps with movement.
    3. Bone spurs in the shoulder area. Bone spurs in the shoulder area are common as we age. They are bony outgrowths that form along the edges of bones. In some cases, they can pinch or compress nerves or other tissues.
    4. Broken shoulder bone. Broken shoulder bone is a common injury. It is caused by a fall, direct blow, or other force that is strong enough to break the bone. The most common type of broken shoulder is a fracture of the upper arm bone (humerus).
    5. Dislocation of the shoulder. A dislocated shoulder occurs when the ball portion of the joint comes out of its socket. It can be very painful and may require surgery to repair.
    6. Shoulder separation. Shoulder separation is a common injury, particularly among athletes. It occurs when the clavicle, or collarbone, separates from the acromion, the bone that forms the tip of the shoulder.
    7. Frozen shoulder. This results from inflammation of the shoulder capsule. You are unable to move the arm above your head. It is commonly associated with diabetes.
    8. Tears of rotator cuff tendon. Tears of rotator cuff tendon are commonly seen in athletes, particularly those who participate in overhead sports. They are caused by a combination of repetitive microtrauma and acute trauma. The most common symptom of a rotator cuff tear is shoulder pain, which is often worse with activity.
    9. Poor shoulder posture. Poor shoulder posture can lead to a host of problems, including neck and shoulder pain. The shoulders should be in line with the earlobes, with the neck straight and the chin level. When the head is forward of the shoulders, it puts extra strain on the muscles and tendons in the neck and shoulders.
    10. Overuse or Injury. Any injury to the bones and surrounding structures like muscles and tendons may cause shoulder pain. For example, rotator cuff injury, fracture, torn ligaments, and tendonitis.

When Should I Seek Help for Shoulder Pain?

It is important to seek help for shoulder pain to prevent your pain from affecting your quality of life. We recommend seeking emergency care or help from a doctor if you sustained a severe injury and are experiencing any kind of severe pain or if your arm is not functioning properly.

Here are some guidelines for when to seek treatment for shoulder pain:

  • Shoulder pain associated with swelling, redness, and fever
  • Limited or lack of movement
  • Pain lasting longer than 2-4 weeks, even after home remedies and treatments
  • Swelling of the shoulder
  • Blue discoloration of the skin covering the pain site.

A point to consider: Left shoulder pain, in particular, may be a referred pain caused by a heart attack. In case, please seek emergency care. In all other cases, it is best to consult qualified and trained pain specialists to help you pinpoint the cause of pain and recommend the best treatment option.

How Clearway Pain Solutions Can Help Relieve Shoulder Pain

At Clearway Pain Solutions, we are the first choice in functional restoration for our clients who present to us with pain. Our team of pain consultants provides comprehensive and integrated solutions for shoulder pain that include:

  • Interventional pain management
  • Medication management
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Chiropractic
  • Massage
  • Physical therapy

Why Choose Clearway Pain Solutions for Shoulder Pain Treatment?

Clearway Pain Solutions is a leading pain management medical practice focused on relieving pain, restoring function and renewing the quality of life for our patients. Our team of pain consultants work collaboratively with their patients to carefully assess, diagnose and treat the cause of the pain with integrated system of advanced pain solutions treatments.

We have a multi-disciplinary team of board-certified physicians, advanced practitioners, chiropractors, physical therapists and a dedicated support staff. We treat each patient with respect and are driven by compassion and concern. Improving their quality of life is our priority.

Physical therapy is the cornerstone for shoulder pain relief and management. Once we find the cause, we take a step by step approach with a focus on restoring the mobility of the joint first then advancing towards decreasing any tightness and building muscle strength. If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, book an appointment with one of our pain consultants today.