Overview

Shoulder pain is a generalized term to describe pain in or around your shoulder. Shoulder pain may arise from the joint itself or any of the muscles, ligaments or tendons surrounding the joint. Often times shoulder pain worsens with activities that involve movement of your arm or shoulder. Should pain may also arise from other structures in the body. This type of pain is termed “referred pain.”

Symptoms

Some signs associated with shoulder pain that indicate you should be seen by a doctor include:

  • Should pain that lasts more than a few days
  • Should pain that occurs at rest or at night
  • Significant bruising or swelling surround the shoulder joint
  • Inability to raise arm
  • Inability to carry objects or use arm
  • Signs of injection: fever, redness, warmth

Diagnosis/tests

To diagnosis your pain, a thorough medical history and physical examination will be completed by a physician. Questions will be asked in regards to your general health, possible causes of your shoulder pain, and a description of your symptoms to help determine the source of your pain. The physical examination will aid in finding the cause of your pain. The physician will examine your shoulder for any abnormalities, swelling, weakness, and observe your range of motion. If necessary other diagnostic tests may be order to identify the cause of your pain. These tests may include an X-ray, Computed tomography (CT scan), Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Ultrasound, or arthroscopy.

Causes

Common causes for should pain include:

  • Injury
  • Fracture
  • Dislocation
  • Bursitis
  • Heart attack
  • Arthritis
  • Tendinitis

Treatment options & care

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Surgery
  • Activity changes