What is causing my shoulder pain?

In the last blog we looked at shoulder pain brought on by poor posture which can be found here. In this blog we will look some other types of shoulder pain along with some tests which should give you more of an idea of what the pain is caused by. You should still go to the doctor, but this should give you an idea. If you want more information on when to see a doctor click here.

               If you are experiencing pain, numbness and tingling from the neck into and down the arm and into the fingers you may have a nerve irritation. If you turn to the side of pain look up and this brings on the pain (shown below), you probably have a pinched nerve in your neck. 

               If you have pain at the front of the neck that feels like a pinching you may be experiencing thoracic outlet syndrome. The test for this is as simple as lifting the arms and repeatedly making a fist. (shown below).

If you cannot lift your arm properly this can be an indicator that you have a tear in your rotator cuff tendon. The other tests for the different muscles of the rotator cuff are also shown below.

If you are losing movement in the shoulder this could indicate that you have arthritis. This should be less of a sharp pain and more of a dull, achy pain. Muscle strength should not be effected.

A dysfunctional acromial clavicular joint (tip of your shoulder) can be brought on by a fall or by overuse, like when I bench pressed every day for a period last year (I deserved pain for being a sausage!). A couple of tests to see if the pain is coming from this area are shown below. The first is a pull apart, clasp your hands together and (starting gentling) increase the pull. If you feel pain from this it could indicate an AC issue. The second test is performed by reaching over and compressing the joint.

Tendonitis and inflamed bursa feel quite similar pain-wise, so I am lumping these two together.

  • Tendonitis is caused by microtears in the tendon, this can be due to trauma but is more likely brought on by over/misuse.
  • A bursa is a fluid filled sack that helps tissues around the area glide and move better.

Like the tendon, a bursa can become inflamed by over/misuse but is more likely after trauma. These conditions usually affect the shoulder tip. If you bring your shoulder back, you can feel around the shoulder for any hot swollen tissue, pain is usually well localised which means the pain is coming from the area affected. The main difference with tendonitis and a swollen bursa is a painful range of motion. If moving hurts in certain positions and not in others, this suggests the tendon is being affected.

This is a common area for bursas and tendonitis.

Shoulder impingement is a common problem. This is usually caused by bad posture. Having forward rolled shoulders closes the joint in the shoulder on your tendons, creating pain. This is a simple test just reach over to your other shoulder and then lift your arm up (shown below). If this creates pain it could be pinching your tendons. Get a head start on fixing this problem by using the posture exercises found here.

Hope these movements helped you get a clearer picture of what is irritated if you need any more information feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I have put together some questions that will help me quickly identify the problem these are found here. Do not hesitate to contact I am more than happy to help!

7 thoughts on “What is causing my shoulder pain?

    1. Not just yet, I am currently waiting for PPE to arrive and then I can reopen I will let you know ASAP. Hope you are ok.

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