Shoulder Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Shoulder Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

The shoulder consists of ball and socket joints that enable mobility to freely use the hands. The wide range of shoulder movement is possible by the four muscles and tendons present in this body part known as the rotator cuff. Since hands and shoulders are one of the most used body parts and they remain active throughout the day, pain and discomfort may occur. Shoulder pain can occur to anyone because of numerous reasons. Shoulder pain treatment usually helps in quick recovery from the underlying problem. If you experience shooting pain or unbearable discomfort, it is best to visit your doctor immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What is shoulder pain?

In simple terms, shoulder pain refers to any pain, swelling, or discomfort caused in or around shoulder joints. Pain may or may not accompany swelling. Usually, people who experience shoulder pain may find it difficult to lift their hands up and down or rotate them backward. Laying down in a certain position may also become uncomfortable. Additionally, severe pain may start interrupting your day-to-day activities.

Before your shoulder pain starts affecting your daily life and your mood, why not seek immediate medical attention? If you are searching for shoulder pain treatment near you, Indiana Neurology and Pain Center is here to provide you with musculoskeletal and neurological pain solutions. Book your appointment today!

Shoulder pain: causes

With age, shoulder pain may become a common problem. Mobility and bone health decrease as you age which may result in muscle pain including shoulder pain. Other than this, some of the common reasons for shoulder pain include:

  • Rotator cuff tendonitis

When the tendons around the shoulder become swollen due to injury, sleeping on the shoulder, sports, or certain activities. Such a condition may restrict shoulder joint movement and is called rotator cuff tendinitis. The condition may cause extreme pain while lifting or rotating your shoulder and may make a clicking sound when your arms are raised.

  • Impingement syndrome

Impingement syndrome is common among swimmers and so, it is also known as swimmer’s shoulder or impingement syndrome. When the rotator cuff (group of muscles and tendons attaching arm bones to shoulder) gets caught between the acromion (top of shoulder) and humeral head (top of humerus). So, when you lift your arm or move, the tendons may rub against the acromion causing pain.

  • Injury in or around the shoulder

Accidents, falls, or injuries in or around the shoulder can cause swelling and pain in the shoulder. People usually go for home remedies in such cases. However, if the condition persists longer than usual or the pain is unbearable, make sure to consult a doctor immediately.

  • Arthritis

The human body can have over 100 types of arthritis and it is one of the most common causes for muscle and joint pain including shoulder pain. Arthritis is a condition where one or more joints may swell and cause a burning sensation and shooting pain, especially when the affected joints are in motion. It usually occurs in people above 50 years of age but being overweight may also trigger arthritis.

  • Shoulder dislocation

As the term may suggest, a dislocated shoulder is basically a disfigured shoulder joint. It may cause swelling, severe pain that worsens with time, and spasms as well, having a look at the dislocated shoulder may be enough to diagnose dislocation. Depending on the condition, the doctor may suggest sedatives and pull back the joint in place or surgery may be performed to fix the joint.

  • Pinched nerve

An underlying condition like arthritis, tendonitis, etc., or injury may cause a pinched nerve. A pinched nerve in the upper spine may also trigger shoulder pain. It can cause serious pain and affect arm movement.

  • Swollen tendons or bursa sacs

Bursae sacs are located around the joints where tendons and muscles meet bones. These are fluid-filled sacs that enable smooth movement of joints by avoiding friction. Swelling of bursa sacs called bursitis can affect your joint movement and cause pain and irritation.

  • Heart attack

Shoulder pain is also associated with heart disease and heart attack symptoms. Usually, sudden shooting pain may indicate a heart problem and heart attack. Seek immediate medical attention in such a case.

  • Spinal cord injury

Spinal cord injury can also cause severe pain in the shoulder. A pinched nerve in the spine or injury to a nerve can lead to pain not just in the shoulders but to different body parts.

  • Overuse of the shoulder

Sometimes, overusing your shoulder for certain activities may cause mild to moderate shoulder pain. Lifting heavy objects may also cause discomfort in the shoulder. Usually, medication and rest can improve the situation but in some cases, medical attention may be required if the pain is persistent.

  • Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder occurs due to thickening and tightening of the tissues in the shoulder joints. Overtime, scar tissues develop and hinder the movement of arms and shoulder since there is not enough space anymore for arms to rotate and move.

Symptoms of shoulder pain

Shoulder pain can cause mild to severe discomfort. People may experience shooting pain or extreme difficulty in moving their shoulders, especially upwards or backward. If the pain persists for over a week, you must seek medical attention so the doctors can find an early solution.

If you or someone around you experiences sudden shoulder pain, it may be a sign of a heart attack. Without any delay, it is highly advisable to seek medical attention for detailed diagnosis and treatment.

Note: Every second matters and losing time in discussion may put a life at risk. Doctors are trained professionals who may provide you with a better solution in such cases. Do not delay but contact a nearby medical aid instantly.

Diagnosis of shoulder pain at INPC

At Indiana Neurology and Pain Center, we are committed to offering quality healthcare services for a pain-free life. Our treatment line begins with a detailed diagnosis of the underlying pain cause. Medical professionals at INPC will conduct in-depth diagnosis either through physical examination, asking about your medical history, and/or interventional therapies. Once the cause of pain is known, a shoulder pain relief plan is prepared considering patient-centric needs.

How is shoulder pain treated at INPC?

Treatment of shoulder pain majorly depends on the cause of the pain and the overall health of the patient. Usually, physical therapies can be beneficial to gradually release pain for long-term relief. However, in some cases, interventional therapies may be required. Your doctor will present you with a detailed treatment plan beforehand. All you have to do is book your appointment today at INPC to get relief from the discomfort caused by your shoulder.

Typical shoulder pain treatment provided at INPC may include:

  • Physiotherapy

Our trained and expert doctors at INPC may recommend physical therapy targeting shoulder pain relief. Regular physiotherapy can help release the stiffness of muscles around the shoulder. Swelling and pain are also relieved with regular physiotherapy.

  • Trigger point therapy

Trigger point therapy, as the name may suggest, is a type of physical therapy that involves stressing over certain trigger points to release pain. For shoulder pain, there are certain trigger points around the neck, shoulder, and fingers. Regular therapy can help release pain. 

  • Interventional therapies

INPC holds expertise in minimally invasive treatments for pain relief. There are numerous interventional therapies, like radiofrequency ablation, spinal cord stimulator trials, steroidal injections, etc. Apart from this, electrical stimulation may also be suggested to release nerve pain.

  • Medication

For severe shoulder pain, doctors may recommend pain relief medicines for instant relief. Depending on your case, the doctor may only prescribe medication and no other treatment or medication may be advised along with other lines of treatment.


Shoulder pain can be disturbing. Not just it restricts your movement but also impacts your mental well-being since shoulders and hands play a great role in daily activities. You may follow home remedies and rest for some time but do not delay for shoulder pain treatment if the pain persists or it is an undefined sudden pain. At INPC, we have a dedicated team of professionals who are committed to our patients’ well-being and pain-free lives. Book your appointment today and get yourself freedom from musculoskeletal pain.

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