Common Shoulder Pain Causes and Treatment

ShoulderShoulder joint pain may be caused by a shoulder joint injury or disease. Shoulder injuries affect ligaments, tendons and bursae that surround your shoulder joint, as well as bones, meniscus, cartilage and ligaments.

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

Your shoulder is made up of several joints that combine with your muscles and tendons to enable your arm to perform a broad range of movements. Mobility can sometimes come at a price — instability — and can potentially lead to stability issues and bone or soft tissue impingement in the shoulder, causing shoulder pain. The pain can be felt either at all times or at only when you use your shoulder, and can be temporary or persistent. One or a combination of the following can cause shoulder pain:

  • Arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthritis, osteoarthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis
  • Bone spurs
  • Dislocated shoulder
  • Pinched nerves
  • Fractured shoulder bone
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Broken arm
  • Shoulder separation
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Torn cartilage
  • Torn rotator cuff
  • Heart attack
Shoulder Pain Treatment Options

There are a couple of treatment options for shoulder joint pain and these will be dependent on the specific cause and symptoms of the pain. Ice and heat packs, compression, painkillers, as well as limiting your shoulder movements aid in reducing pain and addressing minor symptoms. On the other hand, if you have a shoulder injury, or if you think your injury is caused by an illness, and if symptoms persist for more than two weeks, consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor may refer to specialists such as an orthopaedic surgeon or rheumatologist:

  • Rotator cuff tear or disorder
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Shoulder instability issues if you’re under 30 years of age
  • Acromioclavicular joint disorder

You may need specialised treatment depending on the particular cause of your pain. These include physiotherapy, corticosteroid injections, and surgery for more severe cases. If you’re experiencing reduced motion and strength in your shoulder, you may require a combination of several treatment types.