The causes of shoulder pain are numerous and varied, and can result from a number of different conditions as well as from shoulder injuries. Traumatic falls during winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding are some common causes of shoulder pain during the winter season, but they’re certainly not the only ones. The shoulder is subject to a massive amount of use, and pain often arises due to overuse or degenerative conditions.
In this blog, NYC orthopedic shoulder specialist Dr. Francis Mendoza will address the common causes of shoulder pain and how you can find relief.
Why is shoulder pain a common problem?
The sheer frequency with which you use your shoulders on a daily basis makes them more prone to injury than other joints may be. The shoulder is a very complex joint, with numerous bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons all working together to provide a wide range of motion and functionality.
The shoulder joint, in fact, has a larger range of motion than any other joint in the body. The large number of structures and tissues needed to provide this range of motion means that there are many places where an injury can occur. Since you do rely on your shoulders so much in everyday life, identifying the underlying source of your shoulder pain and getting proper treatment is important to maintaining your everyday routine.
What are the most common causes of shoulder pain?
Most sources of shoulder pain fall into one of four categories:
- Tendon inflammation such as tendonitis or tendon tears
- Shoulder instability
- Shoulder arthritis
- Shoulder fracture
Some of the common causes of shoulder pain within these four categories include:
In this condition, the space between the acromion, a finger-like protrusion on the shoulder blade which forms part of the shoulder joint, and the rotator cuff narrows significantly when your raise your arm. This rubs against or pinches the tendon and the bursa of the joint and causes pain.
Arthritis is a degenerative condition in which the cartilage of the articulating surfaces of the joint—that is, the parts which slide across each other—deteriorates, leaving bone grating on bone and causing pain.
Bursae are fluid-filled sacs which act as cushioning in joints. In bursitis, the bursae become inflamed and irritated. This is usually due to overuse, but can also be the result of infection, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or trauma to the shoulder.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff consists of the muscles and tendons that keep the head of the humerus (the upper arm bone) firmly in place in its socket. Common rotator cuff injuries include tendonitis—inflammation of a tendon—and rotator cuff tears. These are often the result of repetitive use, but can also be due to injury.
The shoulder is made up of three bones, which can be fractured in any number of ways. Shoulder fractures are often due to automobile accidents, falls or injuries during contact sports.
This is a condition in which the head of the humerus (the upper arm bone) slips either partially (called a subluxation) or completely (called dislocation) out of its socket, resulting in pain, weakness and increased chance of repeat shoulder dislocations.
Where can I find treatment for common causes of shoulder pain in NYC?
Dr. Mendoza is a fellowship-trained Manhattan shoulder specialist who is dedicated to treating shoulder injuries and conditions, both sports and non-sports-related. He offers a full range of treatments and emphasizes treating conditions with nonsurgical methods whenever possible. In cases where surgery is necessary, his patients have access to the latest state-of-the-art procedures, including shoulder arthroscopy.
While there are many possible causes of shoulder pain, it isn’t something that has to interfere with your daily life. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Mendoza today to learn about your treatment options to relieve your shoulder pain.