Thursday, March 16, 2023

Why Does My Shoulder Hurt When I Move My Arm

How Can Shoulder Pain Be Prevented

I can’t lift my arm. What should I do?

As mentioned before, shoulders are easily damaged and are prone to dysfunction. To minimize the chances of injuring the shoulder you can follow these steps

  • Do not over load the shoulder either with excessive strain or repetitive actions. If you have to perform a lot of repetitive or prolonged tasks then take regular breaks, this especially true if you spend a lot of time working with your arms raised above your head.
  • Warm-up and cool down well when playing sports, especially if your sport involves throwing or explosive movements of the arm and shoulder.
  • Perform regular stretches which improve the range of motion not only in the shoulder but the upper back, neck and ribs as well.
  • If you start to have shoulder pain then get it medically assessed as soon as possible to improve long term outcomes.

Do you want to know what is causing your pain and if we can help? Why not take advantage of our new patient assessment introductory offer to get you started towards a tailor made recovery plan for only £19.

Are you in a lot of pain and want to get better as soon as possible? If so then why not book in for a new patient consultation, with treatment on the day, for £68.

We are also there to help you from home. Take a look at our suite of exercise resources and advice sheets which you can easily download and use from home.


1. Levangie, P. and Norkin, C. Joint Structure and Function: A Comprehensive Analysis . F. A. Davis, Philadelphia.

Signs And Symptoms Of Shoulder Pain

There may be many causes of shoulder pain. They all have their own unique set of symptoms.

People with shoulder pain can experience pain deep in the shoulder joint, in the back or the front of the shoulder and the upper part of the arm. Sometimes the pain in the shoulder can be described as a catching pain. The location and type of pain is likely to relate to the structure causing the pain.

In some conditions there may be reduced movement, and moving the shoulder may cause you to feel pain. A feeling of weakness of the shoulder/upper arm is also common.

Depending on the condition, there may be a sensation of the joint slipping out and back in to the joint socket, or the shoulder can become completely dislodged . Some people may experience sensations of pins and needles and burning pain. This is more likely to be associated with nerves from the neck than the shoulder joint itself.

Lack of movement after a shoulder dislocation is usually due to pain. Complete rotator cuff tears and injury to the axillary nerve both cause weakness in moving the arm away from the body. These problems require close clinical examination.

What Are Shoulder Pain Causes And Risk Factors

Common shoulder injuries:

Other causes of shoulder pain:

  • Osteoarthritis. Also called degenerative joint disease, this is the most common form of arthritis. It can affect any joint, including your shoulders. The cartilage between bones breaks down, and they rub together. This can cause pain and stiffness.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. This is a disease that causes your bodyâs immune system to attack the protective lining in your joints. It can also cause pain and stiffness in your shoulders.
  • Referred pain. Sometimes your shoulders hurt when thereâs nothing wrong with them. This can be a sign of trouble with your gallbladder, liver, or another organ.
  • Heart attack. If your shoulder hurts and you have trouble breathing or your chest feels tight, you might need emergency medical help right away.
  • Tendinitis. This is when the tendons that make up your rotator cuff get inflamed. It can happen slowly over time or as the result of a fall or a direct hit to your shoulder.
  • Bone spurs. Also known as âosteophytes,â these small, smooth pieces of bone rub up against and wear on your rotator cuff and keep your shoulder from moving the way it should. They can lead to tendinitis or a rotator cuff tear.

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Diagnosing The Cause Of Shoulder Pain When Raising Your Arm

Its essential to see a physician or orthopedic surgeon if you are having trouble raising your arm or experiencing pain while doing so. Because there are so many possible causes, a detailed examination of the shoulder will be needed.

Your doctor will ask questions regarding recent activities, whether youve been involved in an accident, and how long the pain or diminished range of motion has lasted. After an exam and medical history, diagnostic testing is usually needed in the form of x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans to determine the location, type, and severity of the damage to your shoulder.

What Exercises Should I Do

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The following exercises may help you. Ask your doctor if you should do other exercises, too. You can also try these rotator cuff exercises.

Range of motion

Stand up and lean over so youre facing the floor. Let your sore arm dangle straight down. Draw circles in the air with your sore arm. Start with small circles, and then draw bigger ones. Repeat these exercises 5 to 10 times during the day. If you have pain, stop. You can try again later.

Good posture

Having good shoulder posture can help prevent shoulder pain. Many people with shoulder pain often lift up or hunch their shoulder forward. Work on improving your posture if you find yourself slumping or hunching. Throughout the day, focus on bringing your shoulder or shoulder blade down and holding there. Another exercise is to stand against the wall with the back of your head, shoulders, legs, and heels touching the wall. Notice if your painful shoulder blade doesnt touch the wall completely. Keep trying that position throughout the day.

Upper extremity strengthening

As your pain goes away, try adding a general upper body weight-lifting program using weight machines or free weights. Lie on your right side with your left arm at your side. With a weight in your left hand and your forearm across your tummy, raise your forearm.

Keep your elbow near your side.

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Categories Of Reasons For Shoulder Pain

Most causes of shoulder pain can be classified into four key categories.

These are:

  • Tendon inflammation or a tendon tear
  • Instability of the shoulder

Other less widespread causes of shoulder pain include tumors, infection, and nerve-related issues.

Lets explore some of the most common causes of shoulder joint pain from the lowest risk types of causes to the highest.

How Can Physical Therapy Help My Shoulder Pain

The goal of physical therapy for shoulder pain is mobility improvement, which often goes hand-in-hand with pain relief. The therapist will start with an assessment to measure strength, functional mobility, and your current range of motion.

When rotating your shoulder in a circular motion, you might feel a sharp pain. With rotator cuff tendonitis, the ball of the shoulder joint will move slightly upwards. This can pinch the tendons or bursa underneath, usually producing a pinching sensation. Exercises can help strengthen surrounding muscles while you learn how to move the arm for relief.

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The Most Likely Culprit

Culprit Number One is a shoulder impingement. This is essentially a friction problem. At the top of your arm is a set of powerful, flexible tendons and ligaments called the Rotator Cuff. These tendons support your shoulder and keep your arm bone securely in its socket. When things are working as they should, the tendons glide smoothly through their movements with the help of bursae . But if you develop a problem in the Cuff, they can become irritated and this may cause them to inflame and narrow the space between bone and tissue. Its a bit of a vicious circle. Inflammation causes swelling. Swelling causes impingement. Impingement causes more swelling, and so on. When you lift your arm, you narrow the space between bone and tissue even further. Result? Pain in the shoulder usually in the top or outer part. The other possibility is that you have strained, or even torn, one of the Cuff tendons. This will give you similar symptoms, but pain at rest or at night is more common.

Why Cant I Move My Arm Across My Body

Is Your Shoulder Pain from Nerve, Muscle, or Joint? How to Tell.

One of the most common causes of pain in your shoulder or arm that makes it difficult to move or lift are rotator cuff injuries. The group of tendons and muscles in your rotator cuff help provide stability and allow your shoulder to rotate.

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Can Your Sleeping Position Cause Shoulder Pain

Certain positions, such as sleeping on your side, can put additional stress on your shoulder. This is because when you sleep on your side, your shoulder ends up bearing a lot of the weight of your torso.

One small study in people seeking care for shoulder pain evaluated the link between sleeping position and shoulder pain. It found that 67 percent of the study participants slept on the same side that they were experiencing shoulder pain.

While your sleeping position can contribute to shoulder pain, its not the only culprit. Several other conditions, like those below, can also cause pain when youre trying to sleep. With each of these conditions, sleeping on the affected shoulder can exacerbate the pain.

Shoulder Injuries That Cause Popping And Pain

Many people ask, “why does my shoulder pop when I lift my arm,” and there isn’t one definitive answer as there are multiple possible causes.

Let’s focus on the reasons for shoulder popping and pain that should be addressed with concern.

If you’re diagnosed with any of these conditions, you’ll be directed to a professional to work on a treatment plan to help you recover.

Impingement. Your bursa and tendons can get irritated and cause pain when shoulder tissue rubs together with the shoulder blade. This happens when performing repetitive movements, e.g., doing sports or working in construction.

Rotator cuff tears. It happens when the tendons in the rotator cuff tear from overuse or heavy overhead lifting.

Labral tears. These tears most commonly happen after an injury when the joint shifts.

Scapulothoracic bursitis. When the fluid-filled sacs in the shoulder called bursa get inflamed, they can cause shoulder popping when lifting the arm and pain.

Osteoarthritis. When bones start rubbing against each other, it shows that the protective cartilage is breaking down, which could cause a popping sound.

Injury. A common reason that often doesn’t get diagnosed is a shoulder injury, so if you feel any pain and her shoulder cracks when lifting your arm, don’t wait and get it checked out.

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How Do I Get Arm And Shoulder Pain Relief

Shoulder pain and arm pain is best initially assessed by a general practitioner . They will make an assessment and make sure there are no warning signs for something serious.

If they suspect something more serious is causing your pain, they may do some scans or blood tests and send you to see a pain specialist or an orthopaedic surgeon.

If the shoulder pain and arm pain is mild or improving, GPs may:

  • Reassure that there is no serious cause for concern and advise that the pain should improve with physical activity and simple pain medications.

If the shoulder pain and arm pain persists or returns GPs may:

Contact us to book an appointment with a specialist.

How Do I Stop My Shoulder From Hurting

Tendonitis, Information on Treatment Symptoms You Won

– Put ice on the shoulder area for 15 minutes, then leave it off for 15 minutes. Do this 3 to 4 times a day for 2 to 3 days. … – Rest your shoulder for the next few days.- Slowly return to your regular activities. … – Taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen may help reduce inflammation and pain.

What Could Be Causing Your Arm Pain?

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Your Shoulder Feels Stiff Or Sore

Maybe you just slept on your shoulder the wrong way. But if your shoulder stiffness persists for more than a day, you may have injured it while lifting, playing sports, or engaging in a repetitive activity.

A stiff shoulder may be caused by inflammation that arises when your body is trying to heal an injury. You could also be in the early stages of osteoarthritis a chronic condition thats caused when the protective cartilage on your bones erodes from overuse or when the joint lining becomes inflamed.

If your shoulder feels swollen, stiff, and painful, your tendency might be to use it less. However, over time, refraining from healthy shoulder movement could cause the soft tissues to stiffen and limit your range of motion.

How Is The Cause Of Shoulder Pain Diagnosed

Your doctor will want to find out the cause of your shoulder pain. Theyll request your medical history and do a physical examination.

Theyll feel for tenderness and swelling and will also assess your range of motion and joint stability. Imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, can produce detailed pictures of your shoulder to help with the diagnosis.

Your doctor may also ask questions to determine the cause. Questions may include:

  • Is the pain in one shoulder or both?
  • Did this pain begin suddenly? If so, what were you doing?
  • Does the pain move to other areas of your body?
  • Can you pinpoint the area of pain?
  • Does it hurt when youre 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?
  • Have you had to limit your activities because of your shoulder pain?

You can book an appointment with a primary care doctor in your area using our Healthline FindCare tool.

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Why Does My Shoulder Hurt When I Raise My Arm

Published on: 24th May 2019

Shoulder pain is one of the most common of all complaints. And of all the most common shoulder complaints, pain when lifting the arm probably tops the list again.

Perhaps youre even experiencing that kind of pain right now. You reach up to a shelf and your shoulder seems to catch. You turn to strap your child into their car seat and get a sudden jolt of discomfort.

Whats going on?

There are of course several reasons why your shoulder might be hurting when you elevate it the possibilities range from certain collarbone injuries to osteoarthritis in a joint.

But for now lets focus on the reason that most people tend to experience shoulder pain when lifting their arm.

When To Be Concerned About Shoulder Pain

Understanding Shoulder Pain and How To Fix It

It can take some time for shoulder pain to settle, perhaps weeks or months. In general, if your shoulder pain has not begun to settle in a week or two, or if it worsens over time, then it may be worthwhile seeing an experienced doctor or health practitioner.

If you find that you need stronger medication to manage your shoulder pain, discuss this with your doctor. You may need a referral to a specialist.

Note: Shoulder pain or discomfort around the front of one or both of the shoulders can be a sign of a heart attack. It is often described as an ache, heaviness or pressure sensation spreading from the chest to the shoulders. This requires immediate medical attention. Call 000 immediately if you are experiencing these symptoms.

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What Is The Best Way To Sleep If Your Shoulder Hurts

If youre experiencing pain when you sleep on your shoulder, some of these tips may help make sleeping more comfortable:

  • Avoid sleeping on the affected shoulder. Adjusting your sleeping position to the opposite side or to your back or stomach may help take pressure off an aching shoulder.
  • Utilize a pillow. Most of us change positions in our sleep. If youre concerned about rolling onto your sore shoulder, try placing a pillow in a way that will prevent you from doing so.
  • Stay active. Regular exercise can boost your blood flow and circulation. This, in turn, may help the muscles and tendons in your shoulder to heal faster if you have an injury. Additionally, performing gentle shoulder stretches or exercises may help reduce shoulder pain.
  • Know your limits. Avoid activities during the day that could lead to further irritation of your shoulder.
  • Use OTC pain relievers. Try taking an OTC pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, shortly before bed.
  • Practice good sleep habits. Keep a regular sleep schedule. Turn off any TVs, computers, phones, or other screens shortly before bed. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol in the evening.

What Is Our Experience As Osteopaths

Every shoulder is different..although there are several common traits that we find if we can identify then we can get rid of shoulder pain and improve a persons quality of life

Is the pain they are suffering a new problem or an old one? If it has been there for a while, or is a reoccurrence of an old injury then it will be necessary to find out when the original problem occurred and how they have adapted to the pain (have they started doing tasks differently to cope with the injury, and how has this affected them.

What are the main exacerbating factors, basically what makes it sore. If it is a very specific action such as throwing then we can investigate the biomechanics of that action and improve them. If it is a pain felt while or after working or driving we can investigate how their workstation or driving position may be affecting them.

Are there other areas of their body that may not be functioning well and be asking a lot of the shoulder, eventually leading to it becoming dysfunctional. As mentioned above, the joints of the upper back and neck, as well as a whole host of muscles in the upper body need to combine to give the shoulder joint effective mobility while remaining strong and stable. A thorough investigation of a persons biomechanics and their effect on how the shoulder moves is crucial to understanding why the shoulder is not functioning as it should.

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