Causes of Shoulder Pain Injury

Shoulder pain is a common problem, owing to its anatomical mechanism and the fact that the joint has the largest range of mobility. The great mobility of the shoulder provides a great range of motion to the arms. However, at the same time, it is easily susceptible to minor and major injuries. Overuse or acute injury are the main causes of shoulder pain.

A sharp pain in the shoulder is the sign of a shoulder injury. The ball of the upper arm is larger than the shoulder socket, and it makes the shoulder joint more prone to injury. However, the bones, muscles, and ligaments all work together to make the shoulder stable. The muscles and the tendons surrounding the shoulder joint are known as the rotator cuff. The tough and rubbery chords that connect muscles with bones are called tendons. The rotator cuff is responsible for the smooth movement of the joint as it keeps the joint in its correct position. A strain, inflammation, or tear in the rotator cuff muscles and tendons will result in shoulder injury. Even though manual labor and injury during sports activities are the common causes for shoulder problems, the degeneration of the surrounding tissues of rotator cuff due to age is also one of the primary causes of shoulder muscle pain. Overuse of the shoulder results in rapid degeneration of the soft tissues and leads to rapid age-related deterioration.

In everyday movement, internal rotator muscles grow stronger, the more we rotate our shoulders. As we age, the external rotator muscles become weaker gradually. This makes the rotator cuff more susceptible to shoulder impingement, tendonitis, and rotator cuff tears. Additionally, there are several conditions that can cause shoulder pain.

  • Rotator Cuff Disorders: These disorders may be caused by the general wear and tears of the rotator cuff due to age. Apart from age factor, constant shoulder motion, poor posture, heavy lifting, are some other factors that cause rotator cuff disorders.
  • Frozen Shoulder: When the flexible tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint gets thickened or swollen, a frozen shoulder occurs. Since the movement of the shoulder becomes stiff, it results in shoulder muscle pain.
  • Rotator Cuff Tears: Serious injury, shoulder pain, and inflammation of the tendons may cause the rotator cuff to tear, leading to further injury.
  • Shoulder Instability: The inability of the ball part of the shoulder to fit into the socket correctly leads to shoulder instability and shoulder pain.
  • Dislocated Shoulder:  When the ball has come out of the socket or becomes deformed, shoulder pain and inflammation occur.
  • Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis also result in shoulder pain.
  • Shoulder Spur: A bony growth on the edge of shoulder joint is known as a shoulder spur. Osteoarthritis in the shoulder joint or continuous stress to the shoulder joints causes a shoulder spur. A shoulder spur typically develops due to the buildup of calcium along the edge of the shoulder joint, owing to the wear and tear of cartilage tissue within the joint. Even though, bone spurs develop in order to prevent damage, sometimes bone spurs cause inflammation, resulting in pain. However, the pain associated with shoulder spur is not due to the spur itself. It occurs due to the irritation and inflammation caused by the spur. Shoulder bone spurs may cause shoulder impingement as it limits the mobility of the shoulder joint.



Shoulder pain treatment helps to reduce pain and restore function. Depending upon the age, activity level, and health conditions, the doctor will prepare a treatment plan. Nonsurgical treatment with medications, surgery, physiotherapy, and alternative therapies are some of the shoulder pain treatment options.

Nonsurgical treatment is the normally the first phase of treatment. Rest and avoiding activities that cause pain helps to alleviate pain and heal the shoulder injury. Anti-inflammatory drugs and ice packs can also reduce pain and swelling. Shoulder stabilization exercises like stretching exercises may improve mobility and further help to reduce pain. Physical therapy is used to restore the normal position of the shoulder.

If rest, medications, and physical therapy do not help to alleviate the pain, cortisone injection are used to treat severe shoulder pain. Injecting cortisone, anti-inflammatory medicine, beneath the acromion can relieve the pain.

If simple treatments like medication, rest, and altering activities fail to respond, surgery may be required to cure shoulder pain. Shoulder pain and inflammation caused by shoulder dislocations and rotator cuff tears cannot be treated with simple methods and require surgical procedures fairly early. Arthroscopy is used to remove scar tissues. Repair of torn tissues is also carried out using arthroscopy. For shoulder replacement procedures, traditional, open surgery is performed.


Shoulder pain can be prevented by learning appropriate exercises that can strengthen and stretch the muscles of the shoulder as well as the rotator cuff tendons. This helps to avoid frozen shoulders. People with a history of shoulder pain can prevent further damage by icing the shoulder and consuming ibuprofen after exercising, after consultation with a doctor.