What Causes Shoulder Pain? A Quick Guide

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Have you ever wondered what causes shoulder pain?

Shoulder pain is becoming more common every day, even among young adults. This pain is more likely to result from injuries and accidents. The problem can become more persistent as you get older.

Your shoulder may experience spontaneous wear and tear, resulting in persistent pain. The good news is with the right therapy and treatment, you can lessen this pain, enabling you to go back to as many physical activities as you would like.

If you are experiencing such issues, you may be asking yourself, what causes shoulder pain and what can I do about it? To learn more, keep reading through this shoulder pain guide.

About the Shoulder

A shoulder consists of several complex parts. These parts hold it together while still maintaining mobility. They include two joints: the acromioclavicular and the glenohumeral joints. They are on opposite ends of the shoulder and connect at the joint socket.

Connecting these two bones is the joint capsule. It stands in position with the help of a stiff connective tissue. The joint capsule maintains mobility due to the presence of the synovial fluid—a lubricant secreted by the synovial membrane—which spreads along the joint capsule.

Strong ligaments and muscles support the whole shoulder structure to provide stability.

Inflamed Shoulder Capsule

An inflamed capsule can be a result of injury or an underlying condition. An example of such a condition is rheumatoid arthritis. It occurs when the synovial membrane around the joint capsule becomes inflamed. As a result, you experience pain in your shoulder and arm.

Another reason for capsule inflammation is the frozen shoulder. It’s a condition where the shoulder capsule thickens, tightens, and becomes inflamed.

It results from an insufficient supply of synovial fluid for lubrication. This makes it hard to make shoulder movements or lift your arm.

A frozen shoulder can also result from extended immobilization, which may be due to either injury or surgery.

Bursa Inflammation

One of the most common shoulder pain causes is inflammation of the bursa. The bursa is a tiny sack filled with fluid that works to reduce friction between two surfaces. It is between the bony tissues and shoulder tendons.

It becomes inflamed as a result of repetitive movement.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

This condition can develop when the nerves and blood vessels between your top rib and collar bone get too compressed. This causes pain in your neck and shoulder. You may also experience numbness in your lower arm and fingers.

This condition also develops from physical trauma, which may be due to repetitive injury, car accidents, or sports injury. Certain defects, such as being born with an extra rib, can also result in thoracic outlet syndrome. Pregnant women may also suffer this condition due to body expansion during gestation.

Avascular Necrosis

This condition occurs when bone tissues die due to insufficient blood supply. Avascular necrosis may lead to the gradual breaking of small pieces of a bone. This can cause the collapse of an entire bone.

Excessive alcohol intake and abuse of steroids can cause avascular necrosis. Breaking a joint or a bone causes a disruption in blood flow, resulting in this condition.

Shoulder Injuries and Sprains

Most cases resulting from sprains may be short-term and can heal much faster.

The ligaments in the shoulder work to connect and hold the bones in the shoulder. In the event of an injury or sprain, you may experience pain, but only for a short while. Spraining the ligaments can cause dislocation of the joint socket from the humerus bone.

The labrum is a tissue that helps hold the joint while still providing it with flexibility. This tissue can tear due to severe injuries to your shoulder.

These can result from a bad fall or repetitive actions like sports activities that need the use of one arm. An example of such sports includes throwing games, baseball, or cricket.

People who play contact sports like football receive serious blows to their bodies. Such blows result in injuries such as a fall or a hard hit to the shoulder. This may result in excruciating pain caused by the sprained acromioclavicular joint.

Nerves From the Neck and Back

The nerves connecting the upper back and neck can also be the cause of pain in your shoulder. These nerves may redirect the pain in your back and neck to your shoulders. You may end up feeling this pain on your shoulder joint, upper arm, and the back of your shoulder.

Nerve Injury

The axillary nerve can sustain serious injuries from the fracture or dislocation of the humerus. This causes loss of mobility and weakness in your arm. This can prevent you from moving your arms upwards or outwards.

Referred Pain

Some causes of shoulder pain link to problems affecting other parts of the body. Examples of such conditions include heart attacks, gallstones in the abdomen, and pneumonia in the lungs.

Broken Collar Bone

This is a common injury among athletes and young adults. You may get a broken collar bone from physical trauma, which may come from sports injuries, car accidents, or falling. Your shoulder blade connects to your breast bone and collar bone, making this injury affect the shoulder.

A minor breakage heals fast with physical therapy and medication. But a complex break may need surgery to get the bones realigned.

You may also need implant plates or rods to help hold the bones in place for proper healing. An increase in shoulder movement results in more pain and swelling.

Understanding What Causes Shoulder Pain

Some shoulder pain may be a result of a serious underlying issue. Thus, it’s important to seek medical attention if the pain is persistent. As you have read from this ‘what causes shoulder pain’ guide, there are many causes of shoulder pain.

The best way to deal with it is by getting a proper diagnosis from a professional. With the abundant medical solutions available today, like platelet-rich plasma therapy, you can receive treatment for your discomfort. View our PRP treatment to restore your active lifestyle after a shoulder injury.