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Shoulder Pain

“The shoulder” means 2 different things to doctors. The Shoulder joint is where a round end of the upper arm bone connects to a socket on the outer edge of your shoulder blade. To most people, the shoulder is the portion of your body above your collar bone between your neck and your arm. Doctors call this theshoulder girdleand it is referring to the movement and conditions of the shoulder blade. There are a lot of conditions that affect this area, because there is a lot of “shared real estate” in there between the back, the neck, the chest, the shoulder and the shoulder blade.

The Shoulder joint has a lot of ways it can move, and so, your arm can move through large ranges of motion. Because of the brilliant design of the shoulder, our arms can turn, twist, push, pull, and lift objects overhead, and across our bodies: in front, or behind us. We use the shoulder for a lot of our day-to-day activities, and wear and tear in the shoulder can cause a lot of pain, and severely limit our ability to live the life we want to live and do the things we want to do!  The biggest, most common injury that people are concerned about in the shoulder are Rotator Cuff Injuries 

Shoulder pain typically happens due to either overuse or trauma. These can happen in an instant, while doing an activity, like lifting weights, or football, or gymnastics.


But, when your shoulder wears down over time, it can also happen when doing something that shouldn’t hurt you, under normal circumstances. Things like getting out of bed, or reaching for your coffee, or washing your hair, or getting dressed.


What Causes shoulder pain?


  • Dislocation

  • Fracture

  • Ligament or muscle tear


  • Inflammation
    (shoulder tendonitis/tendinitis, shoulder bursitis)

  • Arthritis 

  • Ligament or muscle tear

What does a Shoulder Injury feel like?

How it specifically feels depends upon how you hurt your shoulder. But, in general, you won’t be able to move your arm freely, and you will probably have pain, especially when lifting something or moving your arm past a certain point. Those are the two biggest indicators that your shoulder may be the problem: You have pain in or around the shoulder & certain movements make it worse.

That could mean:

  • A dull, or achy pain that gets worse the more you move it

  • Stiffness or decreased ability to move it

  • Difficulty when trying to get to sleep, or it wakes you up

  • A clicking or popping sound from the shoulder, especially on the front

  • Pain when raising your arms (or not being able to raise it)

  • It hurts to touch it

  • Pain that goes to the neck or goes down the arm

  • Swelling, bruising, or redness

Traditional treatment for Shoulder Injuries:

The best treatment for shoulder issues has to start with knowing what is causing the pain.

Your medical doctor may order tests such as X-Rays and MRIs to diagnose potential causes of pain and help determine the best treatment for your injury. Most times, they will recommend a combination of rest, ice or heat, and drugs or injections to help with the pain.

Many shoulder injuries can be fixed, in time, with conservative care. Some cases can take months or even years and limit your ability to move. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.

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