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Let’s say you’re playing catch in the backyard with your kids and all of a sudden you hear a loud “POP!” Yep, that was your shoulder. The tough part is there are many issues that actually cause shoulder pain. Your shoulder itself is a ball-and-socket joint. This is great because it allows for a wide range of motion and movement.

Your shoulder is actually a very complex composition of key structures in the upper part of your body like bones, tendons, and cartilage. In short, shoulder pain can be summed up as the pain felt from moving your arm back and forth, lifting it over your head, or just feeling weak in general.

In this post and before you request an appointment, we wanted to outline the top 5 reasons why you might be experiencing shoulder pain.


shoulder pain


Shoulder Arthritis

This is a very common occurrence specialists see with advancing age, especially in people over the age of 50. This happens when the cartilage covering the ends of the bones gets too worn away and causes the rough bone ends to grind against each other. Shoulder arthritis is often experienced when a pain develops in your shoulder usually when you’re trying to lift your arm over your head. Rest will help ease the pain but not entirely. This type of shoulder pain is most often diagnosed with x-rays and physical examinations.


Shoulder Fracture

A fracture is basically a broken bone and can be common in a lot of different sports. Although, saying that you fractured your shoulder could ultimately mean a few things. There is the clavicle, also referred to as the collarbone, the proximal humerus which is the top of the upper arm bone, and scapula or the shoulder blade. Fortunately, a large portion of all shoulder fractures are non-displaced injuries. This means that the broken pieces will stay near their anatomic position. This makes treatment more centered around immobilization in a sling until the bone is able to heal properly. Most shoulder fractures take around six weeks to fully heal.

shoulder pain


Shoulder Dislocation

A dislocation of the shoulder is a more noticeable injury than most of the ones mentioned in this list. You should visibly see the shoulder out-of-place and with a great deal of swelling surrounding the shoulder. This will also produce an intense pain and an inability to move the actual joint. Depending on the grade of the dislocation, this injury can take up to 8 weeks to completely heal and even longer in some cases. Whether you live in Phoenix, Peoria, or Vistancia, you might need help with a shoulder dislocation from a trained physical therapist.


Rotator Cuff Injury

First, you must understand what the rotator cuff is composed of. The shoulder joint is surrounded by a group of muscles and tendons that make up the rotator cuff.  The most beneficial treatment plan for a rotator cuff injury consists of icing the muscles, rest, and physical therapy. A more severe injury like a tear could require surgery to some degree then followed by rehabilitation.


Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder can be best characterized as a stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. This is thought to be caused when scar tissue forms in the shoulder leading to a thickening and tightness of the joint’s capsule. An injury like this usually needs imaging or lab tests from your medical provider. In most cases, this injury occurs in people with diabetes and those who have kept their arm immobile for an extended period of time.


shoulder pain


Whether you have been experiencing pain for awhile now or you just recently heard a “pop”, the treatment for your shoulder pain depends on your specific situation. Be sure to reach out to a professional like Mike King to help you better understand the severity of your shoulder injury.

Desert Edge Physical Therapy even offers a Free Physical Therapy “Discovery” Session which is a great way to see if we’re the right fit for you!


published on Thursday, November 15th, 2018