Shoulder Pain Can’t Wait

By Ehren Allen, DPT/Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist

Shoulder Pain Can’t Wait

If your shoulder hurts, most things in life are less enjoyable.  Reaching, lifting, typing, you name it.. it hurts.  An ache or pain in the shoulder every once in a while is pretty typical but if the pain is constant or consistent it can be a sign of a more serious problem.  Waiting to see a doctor or go to therapy can lead to complications that make recovery take even longer.  If you’re worried about going to see a doctor because of the risk of exposure to COVID-19, you should check to make sure that the doctor’s office is following CDC guidelines, because shoulder pain can’t wait.  To learn more about the anatomy of the shoulder tendons, please read this article: or  Please watch this video on how to wear a shoulder sling properly.

To see a JOI Orthopaedic Shoulder Specialist, Click Schedule Now or read on to learn more.

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

Anatomy of the Shoulder is very complicated and there are many structures that can be injured.

Shoulder anatomy

The shoulder is made up of 4 joints.  They work together to allow a wide range of movements.  The joint that we typically associate with the shoulder is the ball and socket portion, or the Glenohumeral joint.  The socket is very shallow in the shoulder which allows for more mobility but this can provide less stability.

There are 4 small muscles called the Rotator Cuff that help to control the movement of the ball in the socket of the shoulder.  There is also a ring around the socket called the labrum.  The labrum is made of cartilage and helps to provide more joint stability.

The glenoid labrum is a ring around the socket of the shoulder that is made of cartilage and helps to stabilize the shoulder.

Image of the Glenoid Labrum of the Shoulder

Injuries and Pain in the Shoulder 

Injuries to the rotator cuff or the labrum can cause pain and limit mobility and function of the shoulder.

Other common reasons for shoulder pain include:

  • Arthritis
  • Rotator Cuff Tear
  • Labral Tear
  • Muscle Strain
  • Biceps Tendonitis
  • Neck problems

To learn more about the Anatomy of the Shoulder, watch this VIDEO.

Is Shoulder Pain a Sign of Other Problems?

The quick answer is that several organs can refer pain to the shoulder region. Conditions that may present as shoulder pain include:

  • Gallstones
  • Lung conditions
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pelvic Conditions
  • Heart Conditions

One of the most common types of referred pain is pain in the left shoulder and arm.  This can be a sign of a heart attack or cardiac event that requires immediate medical care.


Can Shoulder Pain Come from the Neck?

The neck muscles can cause pain in the shoulder. Problems in the neck can cause radiating pain, numbness and weakness in the shoulder and arm.

Shoulder and neck muscles

The quick answer is yes.  The nerves that supply the shoulder and arm come from the neck.  Issues in the discs or joints of the neck can cause pain to radiate to the shoulder and arm.  In severe cases, there can be compression on the nerves that cause loss of muscle control or sensation or feeling in the shoulder, arm, or hand.

There are several muscles that run from the neck to the shoulder region.  A problem in a neck muscle or tendon (Neck Tendonitis) can lead to pain in the shoulder.

To learn more about how neck problems can cause shoulder pain, Watch this VIDEO.


What Happens If You Wait to Treat Shoulder Pain?

Waiting to treat shoulder pain can lead to problems that make recovery much tougher.

  1. Frozen Shoulder or Adhesive Capsulitis – This can occur for no reason but Frozen Shoulder may also come from having pain and limited movement in the shoulder for a period of time.  The shoulder muscles and soft tissue tend to get tight and limit the range of motion.  This can be painful and difficult to correct.
  2. Muscle Atrophy – When you don’t move the shoulder for a while, or you have pain in the shoulder, the muscles tend to get weaker and smaller.  Strengthening them takes much longer than the atrophy process.  When the muscle does not fire properly for an extended period, the body can deposit fat in the muscle.  The fatty infiltrate can cause irreversible damage to the muscle and affect the ability of the muscles to recover.
  3. Internal Organ Problems – As stated previously, shoulder pain can be a referred issue from another part of the body.  Waiting to see a doctor can lead to health issues that may have been treated easier if detected early.

Watch this VIDEO on the 3 Reasons Shoulder Pain Can’t Wait.


Shoulder Doctors In Jacksonville, FL

If you have shoulder pain, the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute has the answers!  JOI offers the area’s top orthopaedic shoulder specialists and they are ready to help you.  We treatment options from physical therapy and sports medicine, all the way to the most advanced surgical treatment interventions.  Let JOI get you on the road to recovery!

Related Articles: Pediatric overuse injuries and Direct Access to Physical Therapy

Book an Appointment with The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute Today!

JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.

You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference.

To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

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