causes of shoulder pain

6 Causes of Shoulder Pain. Plus, What You Can Do About Them

Get relief before the pain gets worse

In the post, you’ll learn about the main causes of shoulder pain.

Shoulder pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal pain. 

According to one report, between 16 and 26 percent of people experience shoulder pain.

And each year, about 1 percent of adults report new shoulder pain to their primary care doctors.

Clinical examinations help to check patients dealing with such a problem. 


The primary shoulder joint consists of the ball and socket type. The upper arm bone involved in the shoulder joint is called the humerus. 

It stays in place with the help of a critical joint of muscles and cords called tendons. 

The capsule that encloses the joint is the synovial joint.

This joint contains the synovial fluid. The fluid and friction of this joint help to lubricate the cartilage. And also keep it healthy. 

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves! 

In the rest of this article, we will also discuss some treatments if you have shoulder pain.

Let’s dive in.

What are the causes of shoulder pain?

A general type of shoulder pain only affects only a small area of joint. And it often lasts for s short period.

But other shoulder pain can be severe. And those tend to last longer.

This is common in cases with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. There are several other causes of shoulder pain which are as follows:

1. Muscle or tendon damage

Tendons can get injured due to many factors. People in the older age range are more prone to tendon wear and tear. 

Other factors can be excessive use and sudden physical trauma to the shoulder joint. 

The injury can cause a partial or wholly separated tenon from the attachment site on the bone. 

Injuries to the rotator cuff muscles and bicep muscles tendon are especially common.

Muscle tension of the neck and shoulder is also one of the key causes of shoulder pain.

2. Inflammation in the bursa of the joint or bursitis

Bursae are small sacs filled with fluid and are found in the shoulder joint. 


The function of this bursae is to cushion the bones and tissue, which reduces friction. 

Sometimes, everyday activities may cause inflammation in the shoulder joint. This leads to the swelling of the bursa, and this condition is bursitis. 

It often occurs together with another condition called rotator cuff tendonitis. 

In such cases, the result is an inflamed and painful joint. When that happens, simple daily activities become a real pain.

3. Bone damage

This occurs when the upper arm is suddenly jerked away. The bone of the upper arm displaces out of the socket. 

There can be a partial dislocation or a complete dislocation. When there is more muscle stress or tear, joint dislocation occurs faster and often. 

There can be a pain since the subjected joint is less steady. Repeated incidents can cause severe arthritis.

4. Impingement

This occurs when there is excessive pressure on the muscle tissue below the scapula bone or the shoulder blade. 

When you lift the arm, the shoulder blade or the acromion rubs on the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles. 

This causes friction. And the friction, in turn, can then progress into bursitis (i.e. inflammation of the bursae) or tendinitis (i.e. inflammation of tendons or wear tear). 

5. Arthritis 

This condition can also lead to shoulder pain. There are different kinds of arthritis. 

One of the most common ones is the arthritis of the shoulder. This is often seen in a bone condition called osteoarthritis. 

People with this kind of shoulder pain have stiffer, more painful and swollen joints. If left untreated the pain progress over time.

6. Fracture 

Fractures mean damaged or broken bone. 


The scapula, clavicle, and humerus are common sites of fracture. Shoulder fractures are often seen in patients in a higher age range. 

In young individuals, this can be caused due to a sudden physical injury of high-intensity activity

Fractured bones and joints are very painful due to swelling and constant bruising.

What are the treatments for shoulder pain? 

So what are your options if you want to treat should pain?

Let’s look at some physiological and pharmacological ways to get rid of should pain.

Corticosteroid injections

This helps reduces shoulder pain. Although the efficacy of such injections is still in doubt.


Some drugs may help to reduce the inflammation and pain of the joint quite efficiently. Consult with your doctor before taking such medicines. 


Surgery is a beneficial yet complex process of treating shoulder pain. But, many people rely on medications before going ahead with the surgery. 

It is more common in patients who have undergone severe physical trauma or injury.


Rest is vital for problems like shoulder pain. Physical therapy can improve shoulder and joint stability or flexibility. 



Each kind of mobility in every joint of the human body comes with a price. 

If left untreated, it can evolve into something more severe. And the pain persists all the time with the slightest movement of the joint. 

In many instances, nerves around the joint can trigger shoulder pain. Especially when those nerves got injured in the past. 

In this case, the collective pain from those nerves adds up. And soon, become unbearable. 

Visit a doctor specializing in bone conditions and injuries in those cases. Self-diagnosing isn’t the smartest idea.

Taking better care or joints with mild but regular exercise is very helpful. 

Avoid sudden movements and jerks of the shoulder. Also, avoid too much use of the joint to allow it to heal and recover faster.