What Causes Shoulder Discomfort: 5 Common Causes

Beyond having delts to die for, strengthening your shoulders is crucial for many reasons.

For one thing, it helps make most arm movements easier. It doesn’t matter whether you’re just reaching for a bag of chips or lifting a suitcase. Healthy shoulders help increase your range of motion so you can do everyday tasks with ease.

Other benefits include injury prevention and better posture. Since your shoulders are pretty delicate joints, you’ll want to work them out to make them more flexible. Shoulder exercises will also help your body keep its ideal alignment.

Now, if you’re feeling shoulder discomfort, you might wonder what it means for your mobility and overall health. Here, we’ll talk about the most common reasons for shoulder pain and what you can do about it.

1. Cartilage Tear

One of the most common shoulder pain causes, cartilage tear, is a type of injury that comes with repetitive motion. Let’s say you’re working out and you’re not using proper form while doing shoulder presses or front raises. The cartilage surrounding your shoulder joint can rip. 

An accidental fall may also cause this injury. You’ll know you have a cartilage tear when you feel discomfort or pain when you reach over your head. 

2. Frozen Shoulder

If you ask a doctor, “Why does my shoulder hurt?” they’ll most likely ask you to describe how the pain feels. With a frozen shoulder, there’s no severe shoulder pain. It comes with a dull ache that keeps you from moving your arm freely.

Shoulders tend to freeze if you’ve had surgery or an injury that often prevents you from using your shoulders. Restricting your movements allows adhesions to build up in the area.

3. Arthritis

Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can cause shoulder discomfort. Here, the cartilage between bones or the protective lining in the joints wears down, causing stiffness and pain.

Because arthritis is a progressive disease, it’s crucial to get proper treatment for it. Now, if your doctor has not confirmed an arthritis diagnosis and every activity involving your shoulders gives you pain, consider seeing a specialist. You can check out sportshealthnorthwest.com for more information.

4. Referred Pain

Did you recently hurt your neck or biceps? Sometimes, you could still feel discomfort in your shoulders, even if there’s nothing wrong with them. Referred pain is the term for this sensation. 

It’s still worth consulting a doctor, though. The origin of the pain could be your neck or biceps, but it can also be a sign of trouble with another organ (e.g., liver or gallbladder). 

5. Other Causes of Shoulder Discomfort

Besides the ones already listed, shoulder discomfort may be a symptom of other injuries such as a torn rotator cuff, bursitis, pinched nerve in the neck, and tendinitis.

If your shoulder pain is accompanied by breathing difficulties, don’t wait it out. You might be having a heart attack, which means you need emergency medical help right away.

Take Care of Your Shoulders

Now that you know some reasons you’re feeling shoulder discomfort, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor or an injury specialist. Once you’re better, don’t forget to train shoulders for strength and flexibility to reduce your risk of injury.

For more health tips and advice, check out our other articles. 



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