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Causes and Symptoms of Shoulder Pain

Written and reviewed by
Dr. P. Sharat Kumar 88% (119 ratings)
FFSEM, MFSEM, DIP - SEM GB & I, MCh - Orthopaedics, MS - Orthopaedics, MBBS
Orthopedist, Hyderabad  •  31 years experience
Causes and Symptoms of Shoulder Pain

Your shoulder is one of the most overused joints in the body and thus is at a higher risk of contracting an injury. Shoulder pain may lead to mobility issues where moving your arms may become extremely difficult. The shoulder consists of three parts, viz. the shoulder blade, collarbone and the upper arm bone. Shoulder pain may result from an injury to any of these areas.

The various causes of shoulder pain are:

  1. Impingement: Impingement of the shoulder muscle occurs when the top of the shoulder impinges on the rotator cuff muscles. This condition can lead to severe pain in the shoulder.
  2. Bursitis: Bursa is a fluid filled sac that cushions the bones and help in preventing friction. Bursitis is a disorder that results in inflammation of the bursa, thus resulting in shoulder pain.
  3. Tendinitis: Tendinitis is a condition that is characterized by gradual wear and tear of the tendon. Usually the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder are affected by this condition.
  4. Instability of the shoulder: Shoulder instability is a disorder of the shoulder wherein the upper arm bone dislocates from its socket. This can cause excessive pain in the shoulder.
  5. Fractures: A fracture in the bones of the shoulder results in excruciating shoulder pain.
  6. Arthritis: Arthritis is a disorder that leads to inflammation in the joints, thus resulting in pain and impaired movement of the joint.

Treatment: The treatment for shoulder pain consists of medications and physiotherapy. You may also be asked to discontinue any strenuous activity that requires shoulder movement. Medications such as NSAIDs are prescribed to help in controlling the pain. Various stretches of the shoulder are also recommended to improve shoulder flexibility and mobility.

Tips: Do exercises such as the overhead press with light weights to improve your shoulder strength. Also make sure to include certain external rotation exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles.

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