Shoulder Pain and Shoulder Injuries

By: Ehren Allen, Physical Therapist/Certified Manual Therapist

Is your shoulder stiff? Does your shoulder feel like its going to pop out or slide out of the socket? Do you feel a decrease in strength in your shoulder to perform your daily activities such as dressing and groom or lifting and reaching? You may have a shoulder injury that may require further diagnosis. Shoulder pain comes in many forms. Shoulder pain can be a result of injury or disease of the shoulder joint. Injury can affect any of the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. Injury can also affect the ligaments, cartilage and bones of the joint. 


Shoulder injuries can be either acute or chronic depending on when they are diagnosed and how long the pain has been felt for. There are about 5 common causes of shoulder pain. The following are the most common seen in physical therapy.

  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Labrum tear
  • Shoulder instability
  • AC Joint injury
  • Frozen shoulder

Common Shoulder Injuries

1. Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear are. 

  • Pain in the shoulder and arm
  • Weakness and tenderness in the shoulder
  • Difficulty moving the shoulder, especially when trying to lift your arm above your head
  • Snapping or crackling sounds when moving the shoulder
  • Inability to sleep on the shoulder.                                  
  • Dr. Carlos Tandron states "The rotator cuff muscles play such an important role in the function of the shoulder joint complex. It is so important to be properly evaluated when you have shoulder pain or the inability to lift your arm over your head."  Dr. Tandron is board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, and subspecialty certified in Sports Medicine.

JOI Shoulder Anatomy Shoulder Pain and Shoulder Injuries Anatomy

2. Symptoms of a Labrum Tear Are:

Symptoms of a torn labrum depend on where the tear is located. You may feel an aching sensation in your shoulder joint, shoulder weakness or instability.  Often, a catching or popping sensation in the shoulder with motion.  Pain with specific activities such as moving your arm over your head or throwing a ball.

3. Symptoms of shoulder instability are:

Pain in the shoulder area can have a cause from shoulder instability.  Instability usually occurs when the ligaments have been damaged or torn.  However, some individuals have loose joint all over their body naturally.  The shoulder may feel loose or it may slip out of place. The patient may feel numbness going down the arm from compression on a nerve. 

4. Symptoms of AC Joint or Separated Shoulder are :

  • General shoulder pain and swelling.
  • Swelling and tenderness over the AC joint.
  • Loss of shoulder strength.
  • A visible bump above the shoulder.
  • Pain when lying on the involved side.
  • Loss of shoulder motion in any direction
  • A popping sound or catching sensation with movement of the shoulder.

Shoulder injuries or an AC Joint or Separated ShoulderAC Joint

5. Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder are:

Frozen shoulder typically develops slowly, and in three stages. Each stage can last a number of months from time to time.

  • Freezing stage. Any movement of your shoulder causes pain, and your shoulder's range of motion starts to become limited.
  • Frozen stage. Pain may begin to diminish during this stage. However, your shoulder becomes stiffer, and using it becomes more difficult.
  • Thawing stage. The range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve.

For some people, the pain worsens at night and sometimes disrupting function and sleep.

JOI Rehab Has 12 Clinics That Treat Shoulder Pain

When treating patients for shoulder pain, JOI Rehab clinicians typically concentrate on range-of-motion with active and passive mobility exercises. Joint mobilization, which is a hands-on technique to improve mobility of the joints, is another way to treat pain in the shoulder. In some cases, patients will undergo strength training as a way to treat their shoulder pain. Lastly, electrical modalities such as ultrasound, laser and E-Stim (electric stimulation) may be used to decrease shoulder pain. 

Also if you have recently had a shoulder surgery watch our video on How to Properly Put on an UltraSling 4 or Dressing the Upper Body After an Injury or Surgery

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, call 904-858-7045

To read more about shoulder pain and 5 other common symptoms that you should not ignore, click the link.

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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