What’s Causing Your Shoulder Pain?

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woman massaging shoulder outside before exercise

woman massaging shoulder outside before exercise

The shoulder is a large joint in the body that controls and mediates upper extremity movement of the arm. It’s here where the collarbone, shoulder blade, and humerus all meet to create this fundamental ball and socket joint. Its complex makeup of bone and associated muscles, ligaments, and tendons provides the human body the range of motion necessary to complete voluntary actions of successful joint movement. These movements include but aren’t limited to lateral, horizontal and rotational motions. The overall mobility of the shoulder is dictated by its flexible anatomical structure, however this area of the body is highly susceptible to chronic pain resulting from a shoulder injury or a variety of other possible conditions.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

When considering its high level of importance, the irony of this crucial bodily joint is that the shoulder is relatively sensitive. The intricacies of the shoulder’s structure are very securely woven together, however there are many scenarios where components can be damaged or obstructed. Shoulder pain delivers a direct restriction to range of motion and prevents you from moving the joint freely. There are many complications that may cause an individual to experience pain from within their joint. Below describes some of the most common reasons you may be suffering from shoulder pain. Read on to see if you can narrow down the possible causes of your chronic joint pain.

Shoulder Bone Fractures

Fractures are small cracks or large breaks in the bone that cause serious pain and structural instability. Breaks can occur from falls and other hard impacts. In order for it to be considered a fractured shoulder the collarbone, humerus, or shoulder blade must be affected. This injury is among the most obvious when considering the levels of severe pain, lack of mobility, and the activity that caused the discomfort.


Arthritis in the shoulder is an extremely common cause of many cases of shoulder pain. This condition, specifically osteoarthritis, results in high levels of pain and stiffness due to the reduction of cartilage in the joint. This condition is also known as “wear and tear” arthritis and no longer provides the joint a smooth gliding surface to perform voluntary movements.

Rotator Cuff Injury

The rotator cuff is a collection of muscles and tendons that assist in maintaining the shoulder’s natural structure. These bodily components hold the shoulder in the correct place so joint movement can follow as needed. This shoulder injury often materializes in those making repeated overhead motions. Rotator cuff injuries like impingement can be corrected with physical therapy to improve flexibility, productivity, and strength of the muscles.

Shoulder Tendinitis

Shoulder tendinitis develops when a tendon is inflamed or becomes irritated from overuse. Pain can range from mild to chronic if not treated correctly. Most tendinitis diagnoses are most successfully treated with instruction from a physical therapist. Relief can be found with rest and medication to reduce pain. Tendinitis is commonly referred to as any of the following names: Tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, or pitcher’s shoulder.

Dislocated Shoulder

A dislocation is a shoulder injury that can cause pain when the upper arm pops out of the correct alignment within the joint. The massive range of the shoulder joint makes it increasingly susceptible to dislocation when compared to other joints. The shoulder can dislocate in several directions from falls, collisions during a sporting event, or trauma attained from an unrelated event.


Bursitis can occur in joints throughout the entire body and cause varying levels of pain. Shoulder bursitis develops when fluid filled sacs called bursae become inflamed from repetitive motions that can strain the joint. These “shoulder cushions” essentially act as buffers to protect the bones, tendons, and muscles between the joint.

Shoulder Pain Symptoms

Shoulder pain can occur from numerous of scenarios and activities throughout daily life. While many shoulder conditions are incredibly different, a large amount of symptoms remain the same. Here are some of the most common symptoms that you may notice while experiencing shoulder pain.

  • Dull, mild or sharp pain
  • Reoccurring chronic pain
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Shoulder weakness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Muscles spasms
  • Bruising

Shoulder Pain Relief in NJ, NY & PA

If shoulder pain is inflicting severe pain and negatively affecting your life, don’t wait any longer. JAG-ONE Physical Therapy is prepared to offer our patients long-term shoulder pain relief. Our experienced and dedicated staff will cater to your immediate needs and create a custom approach to your recovery. Contact us today at 973-669-0078 so we can improve your quality of life and clear you for a full return to everyday activity. To learn how JAG can assist with your pain relief, please explore the services we provide from our New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania locations and other common injuries that may be affecting your life.