Shoulder Pains: Common Causes

Shoulder Pains

Did you ever have pain in your shoulders and wonder where it came from? This common complaint that plagues millions of people every year and is caused by a variety of different musculoskeletal conditions. 

Shoulder pain can occur in many different locations including between the shoulder blades, in the gleno-humeral joint (where the arm meets the shoulder) and in the acromioclavicular joint (where your collarbone meets your shoulder). Click here to see a video for the anatomy of the shoulder. 

The specific shoulder pain location is important for a medical professional to ascertain in order to diagnose the injury correctly. Pain symptoms can sometimes be non-moving or stationary or sometimes can travel down the arms. If you have had shoulder pain for a long period of time, it is important to have a physician diagnose your shoulder pain. 

Shoulder pain or painsImage of man with shoulder pain

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain 

A thorough evaluation by a medical physician, physical therapist or occupational therapist can help get to the source of the pain.  Often, patients state my shoulder hurts when I lift something over my head or I have shoulder pain from sleeping.  These could indicate several different shoulder injuries. 

Shoulder pain can be caused by injuries to the rotator cuff muscles, direct trauma to the shoulder or pulling or traction forces. Rotator cuff symptoms could include pain on the outside of the shoulder, trouble sleeping on the injured side, pain with overhead activities and pain radiating down into the elbow.

Rotator Cuff injuries can be caused by a one-episode acute injury or repetitive chronic micro-injuries that occur over months or years. Direct trauma to the shoulder can occur is collision sports such as football or hockey as well as during motor vehicle accidents. 

Typical pain patterns for this type of injury include pain over the area of the shoulder that made contact with another person or object. Shoulder pain can also be caused by pulling or traction forces as when an opposing player pulls on a person’s arm or a person is lifting a heavy object. 

Pain symptoms are often seen in the shoulder but may also radiate down into the arms.

What Do I Need To Do?

So, what should you do if you have shoulder pain? Initial treatment of RICE or Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation is most often used for initial shoulder pain. Rest allows the body and the injured tissues to repair themselves. Ice is used to relieve pain and reduce swelling and inflammation. 

Compression reduces the swelling to the area and prevents more swelling from coming to the area. Elevation of the injured body part above the heart assists the heart in removing the swelling from the body. A common question that is asked by many patients is whether they should use ice or heat for shoulder pain? 

Ice and heat are both great treatments to reduce pain. They differ in that ice helps reduce swelling from ac acute injury where heat may actually increase swelling to the injury area. Heat is an optimal treatment for patients that have a chronic injury where there is no swelling or when a person is allergic to ice.

Shoulder Pain or PainsShoulder Pain or Pains Can Be Caused by the Rotator Cuff Muscles

If you continue to have pain in the shoulder, a follow up appointment with a medical physician is recommended. Special tests such as x-rays or MRI's may need to be ordered to determine the exact injury in your shoulder. 

Continued care including surgery or referral to physical or occupational therapy may be indicated in order to return to full function. See the rehab professionals at JOI Rehabilitation for more information.  

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 and E-Stim (electric stimulation) may be used to remedy the pain.  To learn more of the conservative treatment options, please read this ARTICLE.

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

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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