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Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain

The shoulder combines several joints and muscles to give the arms a wide range of motion. From scratching the back to dancing with hand movements, it's your shoulders you should thank.

However, due to its range of motion, it’s fairly common to experience problems like instability or impingement of the soft tissue or bones in your shoulder, causing pain. You may experience pain only when you move your shoulders or continuously. The pain may be temporary, vanishing by itself, or it may continue, thus requiring medical intervention. 

Although it is common to develop shoulder pain at any age, the chances of shoulder pain increase as one age. The risk of developing a painful shoulder is much more after 60. This is because the soft tissue surrounding the shoulder tends to degenerate with age. 

However, it is fairly straightforward to treat shoulder pain, and home remedies and physiotherapy work well for most shoulder pain conditions. However, it may develop for various reasons, and depending on the underlying cause, the treatment may differ. Apart from physiotherapy, medication can be needed in some cases. However, surgical intervention is rarely required in shoulder pain.

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When we experience a high level of anxiety and stress, our body tenses up. When we suffer from stress for a long time, it might lead to muscle tension in our neck and shoulders. You may feel stiffness, aching, tightness, and pain.

Heavy body weight, poor posture, and weak abdominal muscles might affect your spine alignment and cause neck pain. Consult medical professionals immediately to avoid further pain.

Shoulder pain treatment strengthens your shoulder muscles, relieves you from the pain, and smoothens joint function and range of motion. Consult a physical therapist to prevent pain and complex medication.

How Does the Shoulder Work?

Each of your shoulders has two joints - the main shoulder joint (ball and socket), called the glenohumeral joint, and a smaller joint where the top of the shoulder blade meets the collar bone, called the acromion. This smaller joint is known as the acromioclavicular joint.

The main shoulder joint, i.e., the glenohumeral joint, is a ball and socket joint. The upper part of the upper arm, the humerus, is shaped like a ball that fits into the shoulder blade bone, which acts as the socket.

This joint is held together and controlled by a covering of muscles, which are securely bound to the bones by means of strong cord-like structures called tendons. 

The joint cartilage is kept lubricated by a fluid produced by the synovium residing inside the joint. The cartilage sits between the joint bones and prevents the two bones from rubbing together and getting injured in the process.

The smaller joint, or the acromioclavicular joint, helps the larger joint move through its full range, particularly when raising your arm to lift or throw. 

Common Causes Behind Shoulder Pain

Most shoulder problems are of four major types:

●Tendon inflammation
●Fracture (broken bone)
Every joint contains a fluid-filled sac called the bursa. They cushion the surface between bones, overlying soft tissue, and help reduce friction between the gliding muscles and the bone.

Sometimes, the bursa might swell owing to the excessive use of the shoulder, leading to a condition known as subacromial bursitis.

The cord-like connector connecting the muscle to the bone is called a tendon. Most tendinitis is a result of inflammation of the tendon. The most commonly injured tendons are the four rotator cuff tendons and the biceps tendons. Tendinitis can be both acute and chronic.

Tendon Tears
Splitting or tearing of tendons may happen due to acute injury, advancing age, long-term overuse and wear and tear, or a sudden injury. These injuries can separate the tendon from its attachment and give rise to shoulder pain.

When the shoulder blade top imparts pressure on the underlying soft tissues, the situation is called shoulder impingement.

Instability is when the head of the upper arm bone forces out of the shoulder socket because of a sudden injury or overuse.

Some common types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, can result in shoulder pain.

Fractures are broken bones. Some common fractures involving the shoulder bones are the clavicle (collarbone), humerus (upper arm bone), and scapula (shoulder blade). These fractures can result in moderate to severe shoulder pain.

Risk Factors that Contribute to Shoulder Pain

Many factors contribute to shoulder pain, including physical load and the psychosocial work environment.

Intrinsic factors such as previous injury, limited or excessive range of motion, and weakened rotator cuffs significantly increase the risk of future injuries. Other factors, such as years of athletic practice, body mass index, sex, age, and level of play, have a modest impact on the likelihood of developing shoulder pain.

Extrinsic factors such as field position, match/training conditions, time of the season, and training load may also cause shoulder injuries.

Prevention of Shoulder Pain

The good news is that shoulder issues can often be resolved without resorting to surgery. However, prevention is always better than cure. Here are some practical ways to keep shoulder problems at bay:

1.Listen to your body. If your shoulder feels sore after any physical activity, pay attention to it. Ignoring the pain can lead to more serious problems. If the pain persists, consult a doctor.
2.Stay in shape. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can keep your body in good physical condition and prevent injuries.
3.Exercise the right way. Always warm up before working out and take it slow if you’re not used to a particular activity. Learn proper lifting techniques and don’t overdo it.
4.Be mindful of workplace hazards. Take steps to avoid injuring your shoulder while on the job.
5.Use good posture when sitting or standing. This can help prevent shoulder and back strain.
6.Follow safe lifting guidelines. Lift with your legs while keeping the back straight.
7.Take frequent breaks. Get up and move around every hour, stretch your muscles, and give your shoulders a rest.
8.Ensure your workspace is ergonomically designed. If you work at a desk, adjust your computer and chair so that you can work comfortably without straining your shoulders.
9.Don’t strain to reach high places. Use a step stool or ladder if necessary and keep frequently used items within reach.


If you’re experiencing shoulder pain that isn’t improving with home treatments, your doctor can recommend several options available to you. Apart from painkillers, remedies like heat/cold packs and light exercises work well in managing the symptoms.

Physiotherapy is a highly effective treatment for most shoulder problems. These specialists can help reduce your pain and improve your shoulder’s functioning through various therapeutic techniques such as strengthening and stretching exercises, massage, and manual treatments.

Physiotherapists work closely with you to develop a customized treatment plan based on the nature and duration of your condition. They can recommend exercises to strengthen weakened muscles, improve coordination, and increase joint mobility. They can also advise you on posture improvement, stiffness prevention, and applying adhesive tape to reduce tissue strain.

Stark Rehabilitation is a trusted organization you can connect with to help you with different types of pain, including joint pains such as shoulder pain. Our physiotherapists are trained and experienced, apart from being friendly, so you can be assured of receiving the exact treatment you need to get rid yourself of your painful situation.


Kristin Hallberg

Kristin Hallberg is a Florida board and Swedish health authority certified Physical Therapist. She earned her Physical Therapy license from Uppsala University, Sweden, in 2013. After moving to Florida she also earned her Florida board license in 2016. Kristin has a particular interest in orthopedic and sports medicine. She has 10 years experience of treating a variety of injuries and post surgery recovery for low back, knees, shoulders, neck, hips, and feet.

Previously, Kristin was a track and field athlete and continued with coaching at Uppsala Track and Field High school when injuries stopped her fromcontinuing to pursuit her own journey. During this time she also sought out new experiences and pursuit taking skydiving license and open water diving certificate. She enjoys the outdoors and grew upskiing and hiking. Seeking new adventures has always been a part of her life and relates to the importancefor people to stay active with the lifestyle that makes them happy.

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