When To See A Healthcare Provider
It’s time to seek medical attention if you have new, worsening, or severe shoulder pain. Other symptoms ought to spark the same reaction:
- An injury that causes joint deformity
- Inability to carry objects or use your arm
- Inability to raise your arm
- Shoulder pain that occurs at night or while resting
- Shoulder pain that persists beyond a few days
- Signs of an infection, including fever, skin redness, and warmth
- Swelling or significant bruising around your joint or arm
- Abdominal pain or another symptom you can’t explain, which may be a sign of referred pain
Sudden shoulder pain that causes chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack. This requires immediate medical care. Shoulder pain that causes nausea can be a sign of unstable angina, a type of heart condition that also requires emergency medical care.
Shoulder Blade Pain Symptoms
The shoulder blades are medically known as the scapulae. Theyre triangular-shaped bones in your upper back. They stick out and become more visible when you move an arm toward your back.
The shoulder blades have many functions. One is to support pivotal movements of the shoulder.
Shoulder blade pain has different causes than shoulder pain or pain between the shoulder blades.
If you have shoulder blade pain that lasts more than a few days, see your healthcare provider. Get checked even if you suspect an activity caused your pain.
Calcific Tendonitis And Calcific Periarthritis
Sometimes pain, swelling and difficulty moving your shoulder is caused by calcium crystals that form insidea tendon. Tendons are the strong cords that attach muscles to bones.
We all need the mineral calcium in the body, as it helps make bones and teeth strong. But sometimes, if you have too much of it in the body, sharp, tiny, crystals can form in the wrong places.
If they form in tendons, this is called calcific tendonitis.
This can happen at various places around the body, including the shoulder.
Calcium crystals can then shed from a tendon and cause pain and swelling around a joint. This is called calcific periarthritis.
Steroid injections often work well to reduce swelling. Butsometimes the calcium deposits mayneed to be removed by keyhole surgery.
Read Also: Pain In Top Of Shoulder And Neck
How Can I Prevent Shoulder Pain
OrthoInfo: âShoulder Pain and Common Shoulder Problems,â âRotator Cuff and Shoulder Conditioning Program.â
Cleveland Clinic: âRotator Cuff Tendonitis,â âBone Spurs,â âShoulder Tendinitis.â
American Society for Surgery of the Hand: âShoulder Pain.â
American Academy of Family Physicians: âShoulder Pain.â
Mayo Clinic: âShoulder Pain,â âRotator Cuff Injury,â âArthroscopy.â
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: âShoulder Problems.â
Arthritis Foundation: âShoulder Injuries,â âArthritis and Diseases That Affect the Shoulders.â
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: âCommon Shoulder Injuries,â âDislocated Shoulder,â âClavicle Fracture,â âShoulder Joint Tear,â âRotator Cuff Tears,â âShoulder Impingement/Rotator Cuff Tendinitis.â
Stanford Medicine: âApproach To The Exam of The Shoulder.â
Johns Hopkins Medicine: âElectromyography .â
Texas Department of Insurance: âShoulder Injury Prevention Fact Sheet.â
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics: âShoulder Injury Prevention.â
Merck Manual Home Edition.
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
Pain All Over The Shoulder
The tendons, ligaments, and muscles in your shoulder keep it stable. If these tissues become loose or torn, shoulder instability or dislocation may occur.
As the name suggests, instability causes loosening of the joint. It can be caused by a traumatic injury or from overuse. Shoulders that feel unstable may feel as though they will pop out of the joint.
Multidirectional instability can result from chronically loose ligaments. This condition usually affects young, athletic individuals, making it feel as if their shoulder is not staying tightly in position . The sensation is often described as a âdead armâ with excessive shoulder range of motion.
A dislocation is an injury that occurs when the top of the arm bone becomes disconnected from the scapula. If someone has dislocated their shoulder, the normal ligaments that hold the shoulder in position may be damaged. The shoulder is then more likely to pop out of the joint again.
Donât Miss: Off The Shoulder Ruffled Top
Don’t Miss: Tennis Elbow And Golfer’s Elbow
Rotator Cuff Injuries And Irritations
Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that help tether your shoulder into the socket and allow you to move it in a circular motion. Some two million people visit a doctor each year for rotator cuffrelated issues, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery . Most problems with the rotator cuff fall into two categories: tears or inflammation. Suspect a rotator cuff problem if you have pain or stiffness in your shoulder when you lift your arm above your head to brush your hair or when you reach behind your back. You won’t be able to do a lot of things you want to do, such as put dishes in an upper cabinet, play tennis, or do garden pruning.
Rotator cuff impingement. A rotator cuff impingement happens when there is irritation, inflammation, or compression of the tendons or bursa in the shoulder. An impingement can be caused by an injury, but it can also just result from general wear and tear from daily life.
Rotator cuff tears. A tear in the rotator cuff will produce pain that is similar to an impingement but has one additional differentiating feature. If the pain is associated with weakness, it is likely caused by a tear, and if you just have pain, it may only be a rotator cuff impingement.
While you may be tempted to stop moving when you experience pain from osteoarthritis, doing so can actually make the problem worse because it allows the muscles to stiffen and shorten. This may ultimately make it even harder for you to move the way you want to.
How To Tell If Shoulder Pain Is Serious
If you have a problem with your shoulder, the much-used joint isnt exactly shy about sharing the news. But wheres the line between general aches and an injury that might deserve medical attention?
Here are symptoms that often serve as warning signs of a shoulder injury:
- Sudden and sharp pain.
- Pain along with swelling, pressure or bruising.
- Constant pain or pain that continues to worsen.
- Pain that prevents you from falling asleep or wakes you up.
- No pain relief after several days of rest, icing and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.
Recommended Reading: How To Reduce Knee Inflammation
Treating Neck And Shoulder Pain
Treatment of neck and shoulder pain depends on the underlying cause.
Heart attack, stroke, and other serious conditions often include emergency treatment. For most other situations, home remedies, physical therapy, and massage will bring improvement.
Some of the more serious situations that may require surgical treatment include:
When To Contact A Medical Professional
Sudden left shoulder pain can sometimes be a sign of a heart attack. Call 911 or your local emergency number if you have sudden pressure or crushing pain in your shoulder, especially if the pain runs from your chest to the left jaw, arm or neck, or occurs with shortness of breath, dizziness, or sweating.
Go to the hospital emergency room if you have just had a severe injury and your shoulder is very painful, swollen, bruised, or bleeding.
- Shoulder pain with a fever, swelling, or redness
- Problems moving the shoulder
- Pain for more than 2 to 4 weeks, even after home treatment
- Swelling of the shoulder
Read Also: Formal Dresses Below The Knee
Pain In Left Arm And Shoulder
Pain in Left Arm and Shoulder A common component of ageing is frequently experiencing minor pains and aches in the left arm. However, sudden or unexpected discomfort in the left arm could signal an infected condition. In the most extreme case scenario, it could be a heart attacks aftermath or a sign of an illness that needs medical attention.
Knowing the possible causes and symptoms of left arm discomfort might make it easier to understand how the body is responding and decide whether its time to contact a doctor.
Possible Medical Conditions Causing Pain In The Shoulder Blade Area
- Musculoskeletal conditions. These would be things such as muscle strain, myofascial pain syndrome with trigger points, direct tears of tendons or muscles.
- Neck related problems. Cervical disk injury or facet injury can radiate pain into the shoulder blade area.
- Cervical nerve injury can refer pain to the shoulder blade area as well.
- There can be some ligamentous injury causing instability that leads to more muscle-related pain.
- There can be a direct bony injury to fractured rib, fractured shoulder blade.
- There can be some rib or thoracic joint pain or instability.
You May Like: Fleming Matte Small Convertible Shoulder Bag
What Are Shoulder Pain Treatments And Home Remedies
For dislocations, separations, and fractures, you need a doctorâs help to get your shoulder back in the right position and then a sling to hold it in place while it heals.
For many other issues, your doctor may suggest rest, heat or ice, and a medicine like aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce the pain and swelling.
If your shoulder doesnât improve after these first steps, your doctor may try injecting a corticosteroid straight into the joint to relieve swelling and pain.
Sometimes cartilage tears, rotator cuff tears, and frozen shoulder donât improve with rest and medicine. Your doctor may recommend surgery.
With any problem in your shoulder, your treatment plan will probably include exercises to help you stretch and strengthen the joint, and to improve your range of motion.
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.
You May Like: Boho Off The Shoulder Top
Urgent Advice: Ask For An Urgent Gp Appointment Or Get Help From Nhs 111 If:
- you have sudden or very bad shoulder pain
- you cannot move your arm
- your arm or shoulder has changed shape or is badly swollen
- you have pins and needles that do not go away
- there’s no feeling in your arm or shoulder
- your arm or shoulder is hot or cold to touch
- the pain started after an injury or accident, like a fall
- you develop severe pain in both shoulders
- you feel feverish or unwell
These can be signs of something serious, like a broken or dislocated bone, or a torn ligament or tendon.
You could also go to your nearest urgent treatment centre.
Can Sleeping On My Side Cause Shoulder Pain
Also Check: Knee Pain Walking Up And Down Stairs
Causes Of Shoulder Pain
Pain in the shoulder blades can be from trauma or inflammation in the area, or it may be referred pain from other parts of the chest or abdomen. It may be a symptom of something as simple as mild muscle strain, or it can be a sign of something serious like a lung condition or cancer.
Causes of shoulder blade pain can be:
What Food Triggers Left Shoulder Pain
Does your left shoulder hurt exactly after you eat? Have you paid attention to what kind of foods trigger this?
Alcohol, Oily, greasy, fat-rich foods contain a high amount of trans fat. Trans fat is unhealthy and initiates an uneasy feeling in your stomach region. As time passes by, these kinds of food lead to acidity. Acidity or heartburn has a common characteristic of radiating the pain to various locations.
One such location is the left shoulder. This is quite a common phenomenon in patients with pancreatitis. Suddenly they complain of sharp pain right after they have taken food.
When researched, a vast population complains the food to be oily and fat-riched. Moreover, alcohol is a prominent reason for this pain.
It has helped doctors to come to a conclusion on how left shoulder pain after eating is most likely because of pancreatitis.
Read Also: Shoulder Pain That Radiates To Elbow
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.
Causes Of Shoulder Impingement
When you lift your arm, the rotator cuff tendon passes through a narrow space at the top of your shoulder, known as the subacromial space.
Shoulder impingement happens when the tendon rubs or catches on the bone at the top of this space, called the acromion.
This can be caused by:
- the tendon becoming swollen, thickened or torn this can be due to an injury, overuse of the shoulder or “wear and tear” with age
- the fluid-filled sac found between the tendon and acromion becoming irritated and inflamed this can also be caused by an injury or overuse of the shoulder
- the acromion being curved or hooked, rather than flat this tends to be something you’re born with
- bony growths on the acromion these can develop as you get older
Page last reviewed: 29 April 2020 Next review due: 29 April 2023
Don’t Miss: Women’s Weightlifting Gloves With Wrist Support
Subacromial Impingement Cuff Tendinitis And Bursitis
What is it? There are three terms here that are often talked about separately but are really part of the same problem: Cuff Tendinitis, Bursitis, and Subacromial Impingement. Subacromial Impingement is when the rotator cuff tendon gets squished under the acromion, leading to cuff tendonitis and inflaming the bursa. Its a downward cycle of inflammation leading to poor function, causing more inflammation, and so on.
What are the symptoms? Usually a sharp pain in the shoulder when you put your arm overhead. Sometimes its worse when you are bringing the arm down. It can ache at night, especially toward the side of the shoulder. There may be some crunching. And you have sharp pain with exercise.
How is it treated? I personally treat this problem by trying to break both sides of the downward cycle. A shot of anti-inflammatories or steroids will reduce the pain and inflammation. And physical therapy will restore good function. Oh and also, stop abusing the shoulder. I once had a patient doing 300 push-ups a day, every day! There is nothing I can do to fix your shoulder if you dont stop overworking it!
Left Shoulder Pain Diagnosis
Here’s a quick summary to help you work out what might be causing your left shoulder pain:
- Aching Shoulder Pain: usually indicates a bone or soft tissue problem often described as a nagging toothache e.g. shoulder bursitis, impingement syndrome, trigger points
- Aching After Activity: usually indicates a muscular problem e.g. rotator cuff tear
- Sharp/Stabbing Pain: structures catching on each other or getting squashed such as ligaments or tendons e.g. biceps tendonitis, supraspinatus tendonitis, labrum tears, impingement syndrome
- Shoulder Stiffness: arm movements limited by stiffness rather than pain typical indicates frozen shoulder
- Burning Pain and/or Altered Sensation: usually indicates a nerve problem e.g. nerve pain or brachial neuritis
- Obvious Deformity: most likely due to a broken bone e.g. fractured collarbone or shoulder fracture
- Constant Pain: 24/7 pain that doesn’t go away may indicate a heart attack, shoulder fracture or brachial neuritis
- Feeling Unwell: may indicate an underlying medical issue e.g. heart attack, stroke, pancreatitis
Read Also: Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor Cvs
Avascular Necrosis Of The Shoulder
Avascular Necrosis is essentially a lack of blood flow, eventually resulting in necrosis, or dying of the bone. This happens in multiple joints. And today we are talking specifically about the shoulder. So talking about AVN in the shoulder, patients typically come up with two main questions. Number one, can this heal on its own? And if not, how long or how fast will this progress? Now we classify AVN in multiple different stages: Number one: we have stage one, where it is very normal X-ray usually, typically, someone just has pain with activity. Is the bone itself continues to deteriorate, then we start getting some changes on your X-ray.
Donât Miss: My Knee Hurts When I Bend It Backwards