Common Shoulder Pain Causes and Treatments
The shoulders are the most movable joints in your body, made up where your upper-arm bones, shoulder blades, and collarbone meet. Each shoulder is held in place by a group of four muscles and tendons, called a rotator cuff, which allows for its wide range of motion. Because it’s so active in your daily activities, there are many shoulder pain causes you may encounter.
To get you back to pain-free living as quickly as possible, we’re looking at common shoulder pain causes and treatments. Before beginning any form of treatment for any injuries, however, be sure to consult your doctor for guidance and to be sure it’s safe to do so.
Shoulder Pain Symptoms
The ball-and-socket joint that makes up your shoulder facilitates its range of motion, but at the expense of stability. Repetitive motion, stress, and overexertion all serve as common shoulder pain causes that impact your ability to use your shoulder without pain symptoms. What are some shoulder pain symptoms, however, that are indicative of a potential tear or injury?
Frequent symptoms that require shoulder pain treatment for relief include sensations and situations such as:
- Limited range of motion at the shoulder
- Pain radiating from the shoulder down the arm or upper back
- Reduced shoulder strength or muscle tenderness
Many common shoulder pain causes can be treated effectively at home, but others may require professional care. While we always recommend consulting your doctor before beginning treatments for any injury, you should seek professional medical help right away if you see shoulder joint deformation, are unable to use your shoulder at all, experience intense pain, or other severe symptoms of shoulder injuries.
Common Shoulder Pain Causes
If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, you’re gonna know it! The question is, where’s it stemming from? Identifying the source of shoulder pain symptoms is crucial to learning how best to treat it. Some common shoulder pain causes are:
- Dislocated shoulders
- Separation of the acromioclavicular (AC) joint
- Cartilage damage in the shoulder
- Torn rotator cuff
- Arthritis (specifically osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis)
Note: One of the most serious causes may also include a heart attack. If you think you’re experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, seek medical attention immediately.
One of the common shoulder pain causes is a dislocated shoulder. While the shoulder has a wide range of motion, it also lacks the sturdiness that more protected areas of the body have. This means that if it is pulled back too hard or rotated too far, there’s a chance it could pop out of the socket. Common signs associated with a dislocated shoulder include pain, swelling, and weakness in the area.
Next up on our list of common shoulder pain causes is a separated shoulder. Shoulder separation affects the joint where your collarbone and shoulder blade come together, known as the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. A hard fall or impact to the shoulder area can tear the ligaments holding it together while pushing your collarbone out of place. A common symptom of a separated shoulder is a bump on top and associated pain.
Shoulder Cartilage Tear
Another common shoulder pain cause is a cartilage tear. Shoulder cartilage tears are damages to the rubbery tissue surrounding the shoulder joint. This example of shoulder pain causes can occur due to a sudden amount of force or from doing the same motion over and over. Motion-caused shoulder cartilage tears are referred to as repetitive motion injuries and can sneak up on you due to subconscious bad habits you may not have even recognized you were doing.
Torn Rotator Cuff
As you learn more about common shoulder pain causes, you’re bound to come across a torn rotator cuff. While this is a common injury (often associated with sports like baseball), you may be unfamiliar with what it is actually describing.
The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons in your shoulder that hold your arm in place and give you the ability to lift your arm overhead. Whether it's from overuse, improper movements, or sudden injuries like a fall, a torn rotator cuff can range from being uncomfortable to requiring professional medical treatment.
It’s also important to note that your rotator cuff may experience damage from normal wear and tear simply as you age. This is often characterized by shoulder pain at night or hearing a crackling sound as you move it.
We can’t talk about common shoulder pain causes without mentioning bursitis. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that cushions the shoulder joint. Similar to repetitive motion injuries causing cartilage tears, the bursa can become inflamed or swollen the same way, resulting in bursitis. Bursitis may also occur due to injuries sustained from a fall, and is most often characterized by shoulder pain symptoms through movement.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common types of arthritis to affect your shoulders. These kinds of common shoulder pain causes often result in pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that breaks down cartilage between bones, forcing them to rub together. Rheumatoid arthritis, however, is a disease that causes your immune system to attack the protective lining in your joints.
Both of these are commonly considered age-related diseases. While there’s no current cure for arthritis, there are some shoulder pain treatment options that may help.
Shoulder Pain Treatment at Home
We’ve gone over common shoulder pain causes, now what about shoulder pain treatment options? For many causes of shoulder pain, the treatments are similar. This is advantageous for those yet to identify the source of their shoulder pain symptoms, as some treatments may work for multiple catalysts.
Some of the most commonly-suggested options for shoulder pain treatment at home include:
- Resting your shoulder
- Applying ice three to four times per day
- Returning to regular activities slowly to allow for healing
- Practicing good posture
- Doing range-of-motion exercises to avoid frozen shoulder
There are also a number of recovery tools you might consider to help with the healing process. For example, many people have incorporated zero gravity chairs into their shoulder pain treatments. The plethora of potential health benefits of zero gravity chairs range from better blood flow to enhancing how the body heals itself to improved sleep quality that gives your body the rest it needs to get back to full health.
Additional bonus features of zero gravity luxury recliners like heat therapy and massage functions may also help with shoulder pain treatment. As you relax in the zero gravity position, your chair isn’t just comfortable, it’s working to help you heal faster. Could you imagine a better scenario? We couldn’t either!
We hope our guide to common shoulder pain causes and treatments has given you better insight into any pain you may be experiencing as well as how to recover from it as quickly as possible. From rest and relaxation to using a zero gravity chair to enhance your shoulder pain treatment at home, let’s get you back on your feet and ready for anything! As always, be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any home treatments as well as if you’re experiencing any intense symptoms that could be indicative of more serious conditions.
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