What are the Different Types of Shoulder Pain?

July 7, 2020 – A common problem a lot of us get is that our shoulder hurts. Outside of back pain, shoulder and knee pain are the next more common ailments we may experience. In this month’s blog series, we are going to dive deeper into shoulder pain.

This week we are going to investigate what the different causes of shoulder pain could be. But first we must understand why these things can happen to our shoulder. The main issue is that our shoulder has so much mobility in it that it is not that stable. We have all the motion we could want in our shoulder which allows for us to do a variety of things with it. However, to have that much motion we cannot have a lot of bony structures in our way. This creates little static stability, meaning that our ligaments and tendons have to work extra hard to keep our shoulder joint in place and avoid dislocation.

normal shoulder anatomy

The different types of shoulder pain are:

    1. Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursa sacs that protect our ligaments and tendons from rubbing abnormally on bones. If this rubbing becomes abnormal or excessive these sacs can get inflamed making shoulder movements painful.
    2. Tendonitis: Inflammation of a tendon in the shoulder that causing pain. The most common tendons are the four rotator cuff tendons and the long head of biceps tendon.
    3. Impingement: Caused by the acromion of your shoulder blade putting pressure into the tendons of your shoulder. It can be caused by a bony abnormality or tendonitis.
    4. Tendon Tears: Often called a rotator cuff tear. This a tear of a tendon of the rotator cuff that helps to provide dynamic stability to the shoulder. These tears make it difficult to do things overhead or to move your elbow away from your side. The long head of biceps can also be a common tendon tear.
    5. Instability: Caused by a variety of factors include tendon or ligamentous issues. Often leads to positions or situations where it feels like your shoulder is going to dislocate.
    6. Arthritis: As discussed in May, arthritis is a condition where the cartilage on the ends of your bone deteriorates causing the two bony ends to rub together. This is often painful and makes any motion difficult.
    7. Fracture: This is caused by a broken humerus or scapula.

The good news is that many of these conditions can be treated and improved on without surgery. Not every rotator cuff tendon tear requires surgery. If you are having shoulder pain give us a call at 402-234-3333 in Louisville or 402-298-4747 in Plattsmouth to schedule a free consultation with a therapist to learn more about what is going on and what your next steps should be to help your pain improve.

References: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/shoulder-pain-and-common-shoulder-problems/