Shoulder Pain


The shoulder has an extensive and variable range of motion. If anything is wrong with your shoulder, it hampers your ability to move freely and can cause a great deal of pain and stiffness.

The shoulder has 3 main bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the humerus (long arm bone), and the scapula (shoulder blade). These 3 bones are cushioned by one layer of cartilage. Two principal joints are there. The acromioclavicular joint is in the middle of the highest part of the scapula and the clavicle.The glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint) is assembled of the outer edge of the scapula and top, ball-shaped part of the humerus bone.

The shoulder joint is responsible to move the shoulder forward and backward. It also allows the arm to move up and away from the body and to move in a circular motion.

The rotator cuff helps shoulders to get their range of motion. The rotator cuff has 4 tendons. These tendons are the tissues that help to connect muscles to bone. If the tendons or bones around the rotator cuff are damaged or swollen it may be painful or difficult to lift your arm over your head. You can hurt your shoulder by performing playing sports, manual labor, or even repetitive movement. Certain diseases can result in pain that progress to the shoulder. These include diseases of the cervical spine (neck), as well as heart, liver, or gallbladder disease. Especially after age 60, you’re more likely to have issues with your shoulder as you grow older, this is because the soft tissues around the shoulder tend to degenerate with age. You can treat shoulder pain at home in many cases. However, physical therapy, medications, or surgery might be necessary.

Reasons for shoulder pain

Many conditions and factors can contribute to shoulder pain. The major cause is rotator cuff tendinitis.This is a condition characterized by swollen tendons. One another usual cause of shoulder pain can be impingement syndrome - In this, the rotator cuff gets caught between the humeral head (the ball portion of the humerus) and the acromium (scapula part that covers the ball). In some cases, shoulder pain is the result of injury to a different location in your body, usually the biceps or neck. This is called referred pain. When you move your shoulder referred pain generally doesn’t get worse.

Other causes of shoulder pain include:

  • heart attack
  • spinal cord injury
  • injury due to repetitive use or overuse
  • dislocated shoulder
  • frozen shoulder
  • broken arm bone or shoulder
  • a pinched nerve in the neck or shoulder
  • bone spurs
  • swollen bursa sacs or tendons
  • torn rotator cuff
  • torn cartilage
  • arthritis

Treatment options for shoulder pain

On the cause and severity of the shoulder pain treatment will depend. Physical or occupational therapy, a sling or shoulder immobilizer, or surgery are some treatment options.

Your doctor might prescribe medication such as corticosteroids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can be injected into your shoulder or taken by mouth.

follow after-care instructions carefully if you’ve had shoulder surgery.

  • At home, some minor shoulder pain can be treated. To reduce pain do Icing the shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes 3 or 4 times a day for several days. Putting ice directly on your skin can cause frostbite and burn the skin, therefore, use an ice bag or wrap ice in a towel.
  • Before returning to normal activity resting the shoulder for several days and avoiding any movements that might cause pain can be helpful.
  • Other home treatments include using over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce inflammation and pain and compressing the area with an elastic bandage to reduce swelling.

How to prevent shoulder pain?

To stretch and strengthen muscles and rotator cuff tendons do some simple shoulder exercises. A physical therapist can show you how to do them properly and effectively.

If you’ve had previous shoulder issues, to prevent future injuries use ice for fifteen minutes after exercising.

Performing simple range-of-motion exercises daily can keep you from getting frozen shoulder after having bursitis or tendinitis.