Do you have shoulder pain? Are you worried about it? Do you know what the pain is trying to tell you? Can you diagnose it?

Many of you reading this will have shoulder pain. But, few of you know why. I hope to help you gain a SLIGHT understanding of why you might have pain. I also hope to help you make a decision of what your next step should be.

Shoulder injuries are a common problem, especially for those who engage in physical activities or have physically demanding jobs. The shoulder is a complex joint that allows for a wide range of movements, and it is vulnerable to injury because of its mobility.

So, what are the most common injuries, and what do they look like?

Different Shoulder Pains- Rotator Cuff and Dislocation

Rotator cuff injuries: The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff injuries are typically caused by overuse or repetitive motions, such as throwing a ball or lifting weights.

Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include: pain, weakness, and difficulty moving the shoulder. Now, this is pretty generic and will present like many other shoulder injuries. However, if specific movements like reaching overhead or lifting arm straight out to the side are painful, this could be a sign of a specific rotator cuff muscle injury.

The rotator cuff muscles are small and are there to stabilize the shoulder and control fine little motions of the shoulder. Many people with rotator cuff injuries can push through all of their physical activity and labor by using the larger surrounding muscles, but present with pain during or after activities. Does this sound like you?

Treatment options for a rotator cuff injury may include physical therapy, rest, and in some cases, surgery. However, conservative care should always be considered first for this injury and/or pain source!

Read more about rotator cuff injuries here: Can you diagnose YOUR shoulder pain?

Shoulder dislocations: Now, many of you may have seen a shoulder dislocation before. When this happens, the shoulder becomes unstable moving forward. Shoulder dislocations are usually caused by a trauma/accident at first and are likely to recur.

Symptoms of a dislocated shoulder include severe pain, swelling, and limited mobility. Treatment for a dislocated shoulder usually involves putting the bone back into place and immobilizing the arm with a sling.

However, this should followed by physical therapy!! This is needed to restore strength and mobility and PREVENT future recurrences!! If you have experienced a shoulder dislocation in the past, you may still have instability in the joint and THIS is what is causing your pain. You will need specialized therapy to create stability for YOUR shoulder’s specific case.

2 more shoulder pains: Shoulder Impingement and Frozen Shoulder

Shoulder impingement: Shoulder impingement occurs when the tendons in the shoulder become compressed or pinched. This can be caused by repetitive motions, such as throwing a ball or lifting weights just like rotator cuff above.

Symptoms of shoulder impingement syndrome include pain and limited mobility in the shoulder. If this is YOUR DIAGNOSIS, you will usually find very specific movements and loads reproduce your symptoms. The pain will start at the same angle and with the same motion over and over. Does THIS sound like your shoulder pain?

This is treated best with mobility of the shoulder followed by strength to prevent future compression. If there is a lot of bony overgrowth in the shoulder, surgery may be an option to help limit the compression, though this is a last resort.

**Post surgical patient’s story here:

Frozen shoulder: this occurs when the shoulder joint LOCKS up and prevents movement. Your shoulder will be very stiff and painful to move.

The treatment for this condition is long, hard, and painful. It is however, necessary to regain shoulder range of motion and function. With this condition, you lose the ability to move the shoulder in any range of motion. The worst part? It can happen FOR NO APPARENT REASON.

IF THAT SOUNDS LIKE YOU- get it looked at right away to start your treatment process. You have to get that shoulder moving again!!

Still confused?

If NONE of these sound like your shoulder pain, what do you do? Start moving and see what happens, then you might be able to diagnose your own shoulder after some experimentation!

Here are some of my favorite upper body/shoulder exercises: ( for you to try. These should help you to start some movement of your upper body and make your shoulder feel better!

Of course, you are always free to call and ask me for advice or a consultation and we can see if Impulse Chiropractic and Rehab can get you a diagnosis and proper treatment.

Looking forward to talking to you all soon!