Written By: Chloe Wilson BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy
Shoulder pain is a common problem, affecting around thirty percent of people. I’ve been helping people beat shoulder pain for over ten years.
Here, you can find out everything you want to know about shoulder joint pain, including upper arm pain and shoulder blade pain.
Shoulder and upper arm pain can result from a whole host of different causes. It may be related to posture, weakness, tightness, instability, wear and tear or an injury.
It may not even be caused by a problem in the shoulder itself, but from a problem in the neck. The pain may also travel up the neck, across the top of the back and shoulder blades and down the arm.
The shoulder joint is made up of the humerus (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade) and the clavicle (collar bone). It is surrounded by muscles, tendons, ligaments and bursa which work together. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body but this flexibility makes it prone to injury.
Here, you can find in-depth information on everything to do with shoulder joint pain. Choose from the following sections to find out everything you need to know about shoulder and upper arm pain:
The diagnosis section will help you work out what is causing your shoulder pain which is crucial for working out the best treatment. We start by thinking about where your pain is, and from there, what your specific symptoms are and how the pain started to work out the most likely cause of your shoulder pain.
Burning Shoulder Pain: Burning sensation in the shoulder/arm
Collarbone Pain: Pain that stems from anywhere around the collarbone (clavicle)
Left Arm Pain: Pain predominantly in the left shoulder and/or arm
Shoulder Blade Pain: Pain in or around the shoulder blades
Upper Arm Pain: If the pain is mostly around your upper arm, this is the place to start for you.
Here you can find out about the most common causes of shoulder joint pain. You might have already been told by your doctor what is wrong, in which case simply visit the shoulder injuries guide or choose from the list below. If not, here you will find a brief summary of the causes and symptoms to help you identify your problem.
Rotator Cuff Tear: One of the most common shoulder problems. Damage to one of the tendons either from wear and tear or an injury results in a tear causing shoulder pain and weakness. Most common over the age of 40
Supraspinatus Tendonitis: Very common cause of shoulder pain affecting 1-in-5 people, most typically in middle age. Repetitive friction from overhead or heavy activities causes tearing in the tendon. Classic symptom is an arc of pain that is worst around shoulder height and gets better as you lift your arm higher
Shoulder Impingement Syndrome: Repetitive pinching and friction on the soft tissues in the shoulder which leads to shoulder pain with arm movements, particularly around shoulder height. May be due to wear and tear or inflammation
Fractured Collarbone: Most common in children and young adults, and usually caused by an awkward fall. There is usually immediate pain and swelling and it may be difficult to move the arm
Bankart Lesion: A tear in the cartilage that causes shoulder instability (sometimes dislocation) and catching pain. Usually caused by a fall or contact sports
Biceps Tendonitis: Degeneration and inflammation in one of the biceps tendons either at the front of the shoulder or at the elbow. Usually cause by repetitive overhead activities and sports
Shoulder Fractures: Find out all about the different types of shoulder fractures, how they are treated and how to make a great recovery
Proximal Humerus Fractures: This is when there is a break at the top of the upper arm bone. Here we look at the common causes, symptoms and treatment options
Frozen Shoulder: Most common between the ages of 40-70. It usually starts with pain in the shoulder with progressive stiffness. After a while the pain eases but the stiffness gets progressively worse and arm movement feels blocked. In most cases develops for no obvious reason although it can follow and injury or surgery
Shoulder Bursitis: Inflammation of one of the fluid filled sacs in the shoulder joint leading to shoulder pain, weakness and stiffness. Often causes by repetitive overhead actions
Brachial Neuritis: Sudden onset of severe shoulder pain followed by weakness and loss of movement. Caused by inflammation of the brachial plexus
Restless Arm Syndrome: Pain, strange sensations and involuntary arms movements, particular worse at night
Shoulder Acne: 60% of acne sufferers experience acne on their shoulders and arms for a number of different reasons
SLAP Tear: Damage to the top part of the cartilage that surrounds the shoulder joint. Causes shoulder pain, instability and weakness
Scapulothoracic Bursitis: aka Snapping Shoulder Blade. Inflammation of the bursa affects shoulder blade movement, often resulting in a snapping/grating sound at the scapula as you move the arm
Triceps Tendonitis: aka Weightlifters Elbow. Inflammation in the triceps tendon from repetitive elbow extension leads to shoulder, arm and elbow pain
Exercises are one of the best treatments for most causes of shoulder pain. They help to improve the mobility, flexibility, strength and control of the shoulder.
In the shoulder pain exercises section you will find a whole range of exercises for different shoulder problems.
Each come with easy to follow instructions and pictures as well as top tips on how to get the best results, how to progress appropriately and what exercises are right for you.
Shoulder Mobility Exercises: A great place to start if your shoulder is stiff and your movement is restricted
Rotator Cuff Exercises: A whole range of strengthening and stretching exercises for the shoulder - a great place to start
Shoulder Rehab Exercises: Strengthening exercises using resistance bands
Arm Stretches: If you are looking to improve the flexibility in your shoulder or are just getting the odd twinge, these stretches can make all the difference
Frozen Shoulder Exercises: Whatever stage you are at with your frozen shoulder or if you are recovering from surgery, these exercises will help you make a great recovery
Most cases of shoulder pain can be treated with a combination of rest, exercises, injections and physical therapy, but in some cases, surgery is required.
Here we look at the indications for the different types of shoulder surgery, what happens during the operation, the rehab process and loads of top tips on how to make the best recovery.
Frozen Shoulder Surgery: Here we look at the three different surgical options, pros and cons of each and what happens during and after each one
Subacromial Decompression: Shoulder impingement surgery. Includes indications for and alternatives to surgery, as well as answers to common questions about the surgery and recovery process
If you can’t find what you are looking for, please use the Site Map.
This site is intended to give you the information you need to help you overcome your shoulder joint pain. My passion is to share this information and my advice in an easy to understand, accessible format to empower you to take control of your pain.
Please be aware that Shoulder-Pain-Explained.com is intended for information purposes only. It should never delay or prevent you from seeking or following medical advice or treatment. Any incidence of pain, weakness of instability should be evaluated by your health professional – please see our terms and conditions before proceeding.
If you are suffering from pain elsewhere, we also have sister sites on knee pain and foot and ankle problems. I hope you enjoy your visit to Shoulder-Pain-Explained.com.
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Page Last Updated: 03/12/2020
Next Review Due: 03/12/2020