Having Shoulder Pains? These Might Be The Reasons
Did you know that your shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in your body? That’s because we rely on our shoulders to carry out daily tasks such as getting dressed and undressed, brushing our hair and reaching for something on higher ground.
When you have shoulder pain, the pain inhibits our arms from moving freely, making it harder to carry out those tasks.
As such, if you have shoulder pain it’s best to find out the cause as soon as possible so treatment can be done and you’ll be able to move your shoulder again.
FUN FACT: The shoulder is actually more dependent on muscles than any other joint in the body. That makes sense – if our shoulders can’t function well, how are we going to use our arms and hands?
What Causes Shoulder Pain?
Usually, the reason you have shoulder pain is because you have an injury or a tear in your rotator cuff muscles during sports, manual labour, or repetitive movements. Shoulder pain may originate in the joint itself or from any of the many surrounding soft tissues and bones, such as the neck. It can also come from the nerves that supply sensation to the shoulder area.
If you feel like your shoulder could pop out of its socket, your shoulder joint appears to be out of place, or a sudden swelling and numbness can be felt in your arms and hands alongside intense pain, it’s very likely that you’ve got a shoulder injury.
There are also other conditions that can refer pain to the shoulder; and age plays a role as well.
If you’ve been waiting for a few days but your shoulder pain won’t go away and you want to find out the root cause of your shoulder pain, do not hesitate to see a healthcare professional.
Depending on your condition, it might be necessary for medicine, physical therapy, or even surgery.
FUN FACT: Shoulder pain actually constitutes for 13% of sick leaves taken in the USA. Clearly having shoulder pain makes it hard for people to go to work!
Common Causes for Shoulder Pain
There are many reasons why shoulder pain can occur. Read on the following descriptions so you can determine which of them could apply to you and decide on your next move to seek treatment!
If you’ve fallen onto your shoulder or your outstretched arm, or took a hard hit, it’s possible that a bone could have fractured or cracked.
Most commonly, breaks occur in the collarbone or the humerus, the arm bone closest to your shoulder.
If this is the case, you will be in a lot of shoulder pain and there might be some visible bruising or swelling around the shoulder.
Other indicators of a fracture in the shoulder include stiffness and a sagging shoulder if you’ve fractured your collarbone.
A hard blow or a fall could cause tear in the ligaments that hold together the joint where your shoulder blade and collarbone meet.
This joint, called the acromioclavicular joint, can get pushed out of place.
If you notice a bump on the top of your shoulder and it’s super painful for you to move your shoulder, it’s likely that a separation of the shoulder and collarbone has occurred.
The labrum which is the cartilage that is around the rim of your shoulder joint can suffer injury due to repetitive motions.
This rubbery padding can also be inflamed or torn if your shoulder has to absorb a lot of force or if you fall.
The grinding and locking of the joints will also weaken the shoulder further. If you have suffered this kind of injury, you will feel pain when you try to reach your arm above your head. If you tear the labrum, you may also hear a painful click on certain arm movement.
Existing conditions like osteoarthritis that affect the cartilage contribute to shoulder pain.
Rotator Cuff Tear
Shoulders get their range of motion from the rotator cuff, which consists of four tendons – the soft tissues that connect muscles and bones.
If one of these tendons situated around the rotator cuff have been injured either from repetitive motion or direct trauma, it can be difficult to move your arm.
If you’ve damaged your rotator cuff during a fall or because of overuse, you will be unable to lift your arm over your head or bring your hand to reach your upper back.
Do you feel pain when you try to lift things? Does it hurt especially when night time comes? Do you hear a constant cracking sound when you try to move your shoulder? If you’ve said ‘yes’ to all these statements, then it’s likely due to a tear in your rotator cuff.
This kind of injury can also happen because of old age due to wear and tear of the muscles and tendons.
Shoulder impingement is a very common cause of shoulder pain where your rotator cuff tendons rub or catch on nearby tissue and bone as you lift your arm between 70° and 120°, on forced movement above the head and when lying on the affected side.
There are degenerative, mechanical and functional factors which could contribute to shoulder impingement.
Structural changes that mechanically narrows the space between the bones and the soft tissues around the shoulder can cause a direct impingement to the rotator cuff tendons. These structural changes include formation of bone spur, bony malposition after a fracture or increase in the volume of subacromial soft tissues due to inflammation of the bursa that act as a cushion to your shoulder joint or inflamed calcified tendon.
Abnormal shoulder joint biomechanics, muscular imbalance, poor coordination between your neck, upper back, arm and shoulder blades and excessive/repetitive overhead or throwing movement can result in functional disturbance of your shoulder.
Tendinitis which means inflammation of your tendon can happen to not just your rotator cuff tendons but also the tendons that attach to your shoulder joint such as your biceps and triceps tendons.
This can happen gradually over time due to repetitive or excessive movement of your arm, incorrect movement pattern of your shoulder, neck and upper back causing biomechanical changes or incorrect form and technique used while doing your exercises and sports.
Tendinitis can also occur due to a direct hit to your shoulder or a fall.
These are small, smooth pieces of bone and they can rub against your rotator cuff and wear it down.
This will lead to your shoulder not moving the way it should and can cause rotator cuff tear or tendinitis.
Also known as Adhesive Capsulitis, frozen shoulder occurs when the connective tissue that lines your shoulder joints become thickened and inflamed, preventing it from moving freely.
If you’ve been laying off from using your arms regularly due to an existing injury or from a major operation, the body sends signals to build more connective tissue around your shoulder joints, hence causing your shoulder to ‘freeze’.
You will be experiencing a pain that gets worse and then better which is then often replaced by stiffness in the shoulder.
When you have rheumatoid arthritis, your body’s immune system attacks the protective lining in your joints. This can lead to stiffness and pain in the shoulders as well.
The fluid-filled sac that serves to cushion your shoulder joint, called the bursa, can get irritated or swollen after repetitive motions.
It can also get hurt if you fall or injure your shoulder.
You will have the most pain when you try to move your shoulder if you have injured your bursa.
When your shoulder has been rotated too far, or pulled back too hard, it causes your shoulder joint to pop out of its socket, and is the most visible cause of shoulder pain.
Additionally, this injury is identified by bruising, swelling, and numbness in the area.
You’ve scrolled through all of the causes listed above, but nothing seems to match your symptoms… You’re probably wondering: is there anything wrong with your shoulder at all?
There are times where there is actually nothing wrong with your shoulders even when they’re hurting.
If this is the case, the pain can be a sign of trouble with your liver, gallbladder, heart or one of your other organs.
You should visit a medical professional to find the cause of the pain.
Shoulder pain can also be a sign of heart attack, so we strongly advise you to take your health seriously.
Come Seek Treatment For Your Shoulder Pain at Elite Spine Centres
As you can see, there are many causes of shoulder pain and you should visit a health professional as soon as possible to keep your health in check. Luckily, we have a great solution that can help you deal with your problem.
At Elite Spine Centres, we use the Funcional Correction Method (FCM), to treat both the cause and symptoms of your shoulder pain.
Our FCM combines chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue therapies, deep tissue and sports massages, and rehabilitative exercises to strengthen your spinal column, muscles, and joints. Because we take pride in making sure our clients heal well and get back to their usual lifestyle, be rest assured that your health is our utmost priority. Book a consultation with us now!
Dr. Michael Bryant, doctor of chiropractic and member of the Alliance of Chiropractic (AOC) Singapore, graduated summa cum laude from Life University in Atlanta and received several distinctions, as well as completing additional coursework and NBCE certification in physiotherapy. Michael Bryant is the founder of Elite Spine Centers. Read more about Dr. Mike here.