Why am I getting shoulder pain?

Do you feel frustrated with reoccurring shoulder pain? Or are you simply experiencing shoulder issues that you cannot explain? Read on to find out what you may be suffering with and how to go about it.

Shoulder pain is an extraordinarily complex subject. Many believe its complexity is attributed to the fact that it moves in most directions, however there are plenty of nerves in this area and some organs can actually refer pain to the shoulder (the most commonly known being left shoulder pain when in fact having a heart attack). With this in mind, I would recommend seeking professional help just to be on the safe side, as they should have encountered, diagnosed and resolved shoulder pain many times before. If you are unsure whether you should see a general practitioner or a musculoskeletal specialist (chiro, osteo, physio) click here for some tips.

Now, before moving on to some common problems we should just touch upon the anatomy of the area. The shoulder joint is what we call a ball and socket which is made up of three bones, the humerus (upper arm bone), the clavicle (or collarbone) and the scapular (or shoulder blade). In between these bones is a layer of cartilage on top of that is the famous rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is made up of four tendons (tendons connect your muscles to your bones!). The rotator cuff is one of the most commonly injured shoulder-related issues (or at least diagnosed). Then we have a bunch of muscles on top of that but let us worry about them another time. Below are some common shoulder complaints you may have heard of. I will be going more in depth on each of these in future posts.

Lovely shoulder taken using an xray.

The rotator cuff is one that commonly gets diagnosed as strained (or you may have heard this as rotator cuff tendinitis). This can occur due to manual labour and playing sports (repetitive motion or as I see it too much volume to recover from). Also it’s important to mention that everyone’s ability to recover or deal with volume is different you may have adapted to the point where painting the roof all day, which is all well and good, but for someone who has not ever painted a roof before this can be a massive amount of volume. This makes the tendons swollen and therefore can become compressed when reaching over head.  To get a better idea of why volume matters click here.

You may have heard of shoulder impingement syndrome before in a similar mechanism to rotator cuff tendinitis this is due to swollen over/misused tendons. This time the tendon gets caught under between the humerus and part of the scapular called the acromion. In this case, you may experience pain at the front of the shoulder. If you carry on irritating the shoulder joint you could end up with torn muscles, tendons, cartilage, and arthritis.

Like most things in life more is not better, and moderation is key!

If you are struggling with shoulder pain and want some help to answer these following questions, send your answers over to me and I will be happy to help!

  • Is the pain in one shoulder or both?
  • When did the pain begin? If so, what were you doing?
  • Does the pain change areas of your body?
  • Can you pinpoint the area of pain?
  • Does it hurt when you’re not moving?
  • Does it hurt more when you move in certain ways?
  • Is it a sharp pain or a dull ache?
  • Has the area of pain been red, hot, or swollen?
  • Does the pain keep you awake at night?
  • What makes it worse and what makes it better?
  • Does the pain prevent you from doing anything?

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I hope it has given you some helpful information about your pain and some ideas on what to do next. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have further questions.

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