Your shoulder has more joint mobility than any other joint in your body. It is made up of 3 bones and is surrounded by muscles and ligaments for support. The rotator cuff is the main stabilizer and is made up of 4 muscles. Acute or Chronic shoulder pain can often be caused by injury to the rotator cuff. People often seek treatment for shoulder pain after a sudden trauma has occurred.
You can have different types of shoulder pain. The most common location of pain is at the front of the shoulder and to the side. This pain can be caused by impingement syndrome or by chronic tendon injury. Impingement syndrome involves compression of the tendons. A tendon tear can be suspected if weakness is also involved. Osteoarthritis and a joint separation can cause pain that you can localize with one finger. You can make this type of pain worse by carrying objects such as grocery bags. Bursitis is caused by pain and swelling of the bursa sac.
Pain to the back of the shoulder is not very common. Often it is pain that is not even caused by the shoulder but by the muscles in the neck the connect to the back of your shoulder.
Most people seek treatment for shoulder pain within 2 weeks of the start of the pain. You can fracture or dislocate your shoulder by sudden trauma such as falling on your shoulder, onto your outstretched arm or taking a direct hit or blow to your shoulder. If you have an injury to your shoulder from a trauma it is usually accompanied by bruising, swelling or deformity.
Your age and history of your pain can help your provider determine the cause of your discomfort. Young adults who play sports are more likely to obtain a shoulder separation. People who are middle aged are more likely to sustain a rotator cuff injury. Older individuals are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis that can cause a frozen shoulder due to pain swelling and lack of movement.
Another condition that can cause shoulder pain is bursitis. You have small fluid-filled sacs near the bones of your shoulder, knee, elbow and hip and throughout other areas of your body. Bursitis is caused by irritation of the bursa and can result in pain and swelling. Gout and arthritis can cause bursitis. It can also be caused by moving a joint in the same way repeatedly or by holding a position that places direct pressure on the bursa. Symptoms of shoulder bursitis include pain, swelling and difficulty moving your shoulder.
If you are experiencing shoulder pain and you have already tried resting the joint, applying ice and taking pain medication such as Tylenol or Motrin without relief you can schedule a complimentary pain consultation. We can do an exam and order an x-ray or MRI if needed. We can set up a treatment plan that includes a nonsteroidal joint injection, ice massage, and physical therapy that will stretch and strengthen your shoulder to help you return to your previous level of activity.