What Is Causing My Shoulder Pain?

What Is Causing My Shoulder Pain?

It happens to the best of us. We wake up, get out of bend and wince – “What is that pain in my [insert body part here]?”

When it comes to shoulder pain, there are a variety of causes, depending on your level of physical activity, age and even career.

Rotator cuff injury

You rely on your rotator cuff muscles to keep your shoulders in position and allow you maximum mobility in your upper body. So when the rotator cuff experiences a tear or strain, it can cause a lot of shoulder pain that might manifest itself most often when you’re lifting your arm up or pull on an object. If you’ve experienced a tear in your rotator cuff, surgery might be the answer to repair it, depending on the severity.


Joints as a general rule are prone to bursitis, and shoulders are no different. Bursitis refers to fluid accumulation in the form of sacs in or near your joints. Bursitis may be common, but it isn’t pleasant – it can cause pain, redness and inflammation. These issues typically occur as the result of some sort of bodily injury, so protect your joints when performing physical activity. Bursitis is typically treatable through a course of anti-inflammatories, but surgery and physical therapy may be necessary for long-term afflictions.


If your job or your favorite after-work activities involve a lot of shoulder movement that repeats itself on a frequent basis, your tendons might be reacting to an irritation. Think of a baseball pitcher or tennis player who repeatedly moves his or her shoulder in the same way over and over. Your doctor or physical therapist will likely prescribe an over-the-counter medication, joint rest and hot or cold compresses to treat your tendinitis.

‘Frozen shoulder’

Just like any other join in your body, the shoulder can be prone to inflammation and swelling. In some cases, you may notice you’ve lost much of the mobility in your shoulder, causing “frozen shoulder.” This can be the result of inflammation or other sorts of chemical imbalances. The right course of physical therapy and meds often clears up frozen shoulder. But surgery can sometimes be necessary in severe cases. After a shoulder surgery, including total replacement, frozen shoulder should not occur if you are attending regular physical therapy and performing recommended exercises and treatments at home. 


Whatever your symptoms, Orthopedic Institute can help – set up an appointment with our team today to get to the bottom of your ongoing shoulder pain.