Dealing with Shoulder Pain

So look what we`ve decided to discuss this time. Just before you shrug next, you should know how to care for those shoulders if they happen to ever develop a pain someday. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint where the scapula (shoulder blade) and (collarbone) meet. The wide range of motion of the shoulder makes it quite unstable and prone to injuries. Oops! I should be more careful with my shoulders. But the shoulders are stable enough to pull, push and lift objects. A number of factors could cause shoulder pain.

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

Frozen Shoulder

This happens when the shoulder capsule thickens and tightens; the shoulder is usually stiff and painful when moved. Frozen shoulder does not just happen at once, it develops gradually, gets worse over time and eventually goes away with time. It could be up to 2 years, that is a long time to be in pains. Having a doctor help manage the pain may be better than waiting it out. People with frozen shoulder pass through three stages, here they are:

  • The Freezing Stage has a timeline that lasts from about 6 to 9 months, there is a pain in the shoulder anytime it is moved, the pain gets worse over time and there is a limit to how far one can move the affected shoulder.
  • The Frozen Stage has a timeline that starts from 4 to 12 months, the stiffness becomes worse and moving the affected shoulder becomes more difficult and getting through the day’s activities may be quite difficult.
  • The Thawing Stage has a timeline that lasts from about 6 to 2 years. It is during this period that one’s range of motions starts to get better and go back to normal.


Arthritis causes pain and stiffness in the joints, it could be more than one joint. The affected area is inflamed, swollen and really painful. An arthritic shoulder is usually painful and stuff, it is, however, a condition commonly seen in older people. This condition could also be hereditary. Here are some types of arthritis that can affect the shoulder:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Juvenile Arthritis
  • Gout Arthritis
  • Reactive Arthritis
  • Infectious Arthritis

Rotator Cuff Tear

The human rotator cuff is a bundle of muscles and tendons that keep the head of the upper arm in place. Rotator cuff tear can be quite gruesome because it affects the simplest of activities. Getting dressed could even become herculean. Studies show that rotator cuff tear is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain, which causes a dull ache in the affected area. People who often raise their arms, such as tennis players, basketball players, and painters are at risk of having a rotator cuff tear. This could happen over a period of time, it could also happen as a result of a single injury. It may be difficult to know for sure if one’s shoulder pain is as a result of rotator cuff injury; here are some symptoms associated with rotator cuff injury:

  • A dull ache deep in the shoulder
  • Difficulty reaching the back area
  • Weakness in the area
  • Inability to sleep if the injured shoulder is slept on.

Swimmer’s Shoulder

Swimmer’s shoulder is a term used to refer to one out of other injuries that could affect swimmers. Swimmers move their shoulders overhead repeatedly while swimming, so, they`re at a higher risk of developing swimmer’s shoulder. It is not strange for a swimmer to have shoulder injuries, this is as a result of the overuse of the shoulders. Frustrating, right? Yes, it is. But if a swimmer pays attention to the shoulders and gets treatment quickly, it is possible for the swimmer to swim for a long time without having to stop swimming.

Shoulder Fracture

This is when parts of the bones that hold the shoulder together are broken. Shoulder fracture could be as a result of blunt force trauma or a fall. You know a shoulder is when fractured when it is swollen, bruised and painful. The shoulder may also be unable to move and when it eventually does move, there is a grinding sensation. A fractured shoulder would also look deformed. Seeing a doctor and getting the proper care is the best option for a person with a fractured shoulder.

Chronic Shoulder Instability

This occurs when the shoulder joint becomes loose, and the structures around the joint are no longer capable of supporting the ball maintain its position within the socket. This is a major problem and can cause the shoulder to dislocate from time to time. Shoulder Instability can occur when the shoulder has been overworked and use over time, it could, however, be as a result of a sudden injury. If proper care is not taken, it could tear the shoulder ligaments, hereby, making matters worse. A person with lose shoulder joints could explore various treatment plans, as advised by a qualified doctor. Seeing a doctor quickly prevents further damage to the shoulder. Please, do not procrastinate getting help.

Tendon Inflammation

This is simply when the thick cords that join the muscles to the bones become inflamed and irritated. It is difficult to move an inflamed tendon because of the tenderness and acute pain that comes with this condition. It can also be called Tendinitis. Tendinitis could be as a result of aging, injury or diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes. This condition could be mild or severe, in severe cases, surgery or physical therapy could be recommended. This is why it is important to get help the moment you feel something is not right. Health, they say, is wealth.


Shoulder pain could be a symptom of lung cancer. The pain felt in the shoulder could be referred pain. Referred pain could be as a result of a nerve being irritated by a lung tumor. The brain, then, in error, interprets that the pain is from the shoulder when it is originally caused by a lung tumor. It could be that the lung tumor is spreading to areas near the shoulder. Decreasing or removing the tumor would relieve the pressure on the irritated nerve and get rid of the pain. There are a number of treatment plans one could explore to deal with this.

Dealing with Shoulder Pain

Heat Therapy

Heat therapy can be used to manage pain as it soothes the injured shoulder and relaxes the muscles. Using an electric heating pad is recommended. It is also important not to cause more problems to the shoulder by overdoing it. If the skin is blistered, swollen and, purplish-red on color, there is a need to see the doctor as it may cause skin damage.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is good for a hurt shoulder, it should also be recommended by a doctor. Physical therapy is a treatment plan that helps loosen muscles and joints by exercising to strengthen and restore mobility to the affected part of the body. A physical therapist knows the appropriate exercises need to strengthen different parts of the body.


Putting an ice pack on the hurt shoulder for a while would help numb the pain and reduce the swelling in the shoulder. This therapy should be done a few times daily for a more productive result. It is advisable not to apply the ice pack directly to the skin. The ice pack could be wrapped in a towel.


Putting the injured shoulder up above the level of the heart could also help. Elevating the shoulder would help keep the shoulders and its structure in place. Keep the shoulder up and limit its movement. That would help stabilize the shoulder. Resting the shoulder, applying ice packs and elevating it could be more effective, depending on the severity and extent of the injury.

Pain Medications

cold sore

Using anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin and ibuprofen would help relieve pain and reduce inflammation of the ball joints. Analgesics and Corticosteroids can also be used to treat shoulder pain. Do not self-medicate; it is advisable to get a prescription from a qualified doctor.

Rest the Shoulder

Resting the affected shoulder is wise and can alleviate the pain in no time. This reduces the strain on the shoulder, helps it heal and reduces the possible irritation or inflammation in the shoulder.


Surgery may be needed to repair the damage done to the injured shoulder. Injuries like rotor cuff tears could require surgery if severe. Desperate times, they say, call for desperate measures.

Final Words…

Pain in the shoulder may be inevitable for humans because of its wide range of mobility, it is how pain is taken care of that matters. Do not put off seeing a doctor longer than you have to. Getting professional help may be the key to quick recovery.