Updated: Jul 27
It's all too common for people to suffer from shoulder problems as adults. There are a lot of causes for this sort of discomfort which can range from a simple sprain to a separated shoulder. Whether it be a rotator cuff tear, frozen shoulder, or simply a worn-out joint, shoulder injuries can be painful and severely limit your everyday activities.
So what causes shoulder pain? Should you consult a pain management NJ specialist? If yes, when should you do this? These are the questions we are going to answer in this blog post.
Why is your shoulder hurting so much?
The shoulder is the most important joint in the body because it allows you to lift your arm, give and receive a hug, carry things, and play sports. If you have shoulder pain, you probably use your shoulder every day.
Shoulders are made up of several joints that connect your upper arms to your spine. The most common area of the shoulder is the glenohumeral joint, which is where the scapula (shoulder blade) meets the humerus (upper arm). A rotator cuff is a group of tendons, muscles, and bones that surround this joint.
The rotator cuff consists of four muscles: subscapularis, teres minor, supraspinatus, and infraspinatus. These muscles work together to stabilize the shoulder joint when you lift something heavy or when you reach for something high off the ground. They also help protect your arm from injury caused by repetitive motion over time.
Shoulder pain can be caused by many things, including an injury. But if you're experiencing any of the following symptoms, it may be something more serious. Symptoms of shoulder pain usually appear suddenly. They are usually sharp and restricted in movement and may be accompanied by inflammation or stiffness. Pain in the shoulder may also radiate to the neck, chest, or back, depending on the cause.
Symptoms may include:
• Pain when lifting and carrying heavy objects
• Loss of movement in your shoulder
• Pain on the back of your shoulder that radiates down to your elbow or forearm
• A lump or bump on your shoulder
• Pain during range-of-motion exercises (such as when you raise your arm overhead)
• Swelling in the shoulder joint
• Clammy feeling in the shoulder joint
• Weakness or stiffness in muscles surrounding the shoulder joint
What are the possible causes of this type of pain?
The biggest mistake most people make when trying to find the root cause behind shoulder pain is assuming it's something physical or even just a problem with joint mobility or strength. However, there are various factors that can cause shoulder pain. Some of them include the following:
Poor posture. Sitting for long periods of time, such as in a car or at work, can cause you to develop a rounded spine. This can lead to the muscles around your shoulder blades becoming tight and the joints nearby becoming stiff. If you have poor posture, it can also change the way that your muscles move and how they connect with each other.
Faulty movement patterns. Someone with poor movement patterns might have difficulty reaching for objects, lifting heavy objects, or reaching up high to grab something off a high shelf. If you spend most of your time sitting at a desk, you may also develop muscle weakness in your shoulders, which can cause tension around the joint and lead to pain.
Muscle imbalance. This can be caused by an injury or arthritis, which causes inflammation in the joint capsule and muscles surrounding it. In addition, weak or tight muscles around the shoulder joint can also contribute to shoulder pain by tightening up muscles that support the shoulder joint.
Frozen shoulder. A frozen shoulder is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. It happens when the muscles around the joint become weak or stiff, causing it to become stuck together or inflexible. This can make it hard for you to move your arm or hand normally and can make you feel like you have a heavy object attached to your arm.
Rotator cuff tear or injury. A rotator cuff tear or injury (also known as AC separation) is an injury in which one or both layers of cartilage that form the rotator cuff are torn, allowing tendons to pass through into either side of the joint capsule where they can rub against each other and cause pain.
Biceps tendonitis or bicep tendonitis is an inflammation of the bicep tendon caused by repetitive strain on your arm from using certain skills, such as lifting objects with your hands over a long period of time without resting between movements or playing sports like tennis.
Arthritis: Arthritis is caused by inflammation in a joint. It can occur due to damage to your cartilage (a cushioning material that covers bones) or because of bony buildup around your joints. Joints become inflamed when they are repeatedly stressed over time — such as by repetitive use or overuse of your body parts. In addition to causing pain, arthritis can also affect your quality of life because it limits how much you can move around and perform daily tasks.
Dislocation: Dislocation occurs when one bone slides out of position within another bone; this usually happens in joints such as those found in your arms and legs.
When should you see a specialist?
If you're experiencing persistent pain in your shoulders, it's important to see a pain specialist. Some types of shoulder pain can be serious and require treatment from a physician.
Your doctor will perform a physical examination and ask specific questions about your symptoms and activities before making any conclusions about what's causing them. Your doctor might also ask if any of your symptoms were worse while using certain activities or when doing specific activities such as reaching for something from high up or lifting heavy objects.
If you have been having trouble sleeping because of your shoulder pain, the doctor may ask about sleep disturbances and whether other medical conditions might be contributing to your aches and pains. If you have had previous surgery on your shoulder, it's important that you tell your doctor about it so that they can rule out any problems related to that surgery. The same goes for any other recent surgeries or injuries that may have happened (such as sports injuries).
The sooner you see a pain specialist, the more likely you'll get the correct diagnosis and treatment for your condition. If you wait too long, though, there's a chance that your symptoms may get worse before they get better. This can cause complications — sometimes permanent ones — so it's best to find out what's going on quickly.
When it comes to shoulder pain, 'surgery' is not the answer. Shoulder pain is a very common problem, especially among older people. Despite the fact it can be an acute and painful condition, it is also preventable with regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and, above all, by consulting a highly qualified pain management NJ specialist who will provide you with treatment options that would best suit your needs.