Health & Fitness

Detailed Guide: Shoulder Pain and How We Can Self Diagnose At Home

Overview of Shoulder Pain

Every year millions of people suffer from undiagnosed shoulder pain. In 2006, approximately 7.5 people sought a physician’s attention due to chronic pain in their shoulder area. Shoulder pain can first begin in several different areas near the shoulder; however, most shoulder pain often occurs in or around the shoulder joints. Although very significant in pain, many people often have a hard time distinguishing between neck pain and shoulder pain.

When shoulder pain takes place it is generally as a result of a disease or injury that impacts structures in the shoulder.

Facts about Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is not gender, age or race specific. Men, women and children are all susceptible to shoulder pain. In fact, many common shoulder problems actually come from when soft tissues in the shoulder break down. When you overextend or overuse your shoulder you are enabling the soft tissue in your shoulder to break down faster. Shoulder pain can also be enhanced by doing manual labor and playing sports.

Shoulder pain can be felt in several parts of your arm. When you begin to start feeling pain traveling down your nerves you should be aware that this can be caused by several different things including but not limited to: gallbladder disease, liver disease, heart disease, disease of the spine in the neck.

20 Causes of Shoulder Pain


Manual Labor: If you have a physically laborious job you may be unknowingly putting yourself at risk for shoulder pain. So often we overuse specifically our arms and shoulders to a point that we are the primary cause of soft tissue breaking down in our joints.

Genetics: Bad genetics could be causing you unexpected pain. In fact, a study conducted by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggested that a predisposition to rotator cuff injury is actually something that runs in families. It is also found that rotator cuff injury is genetic.

Frozen Shoulder: Frozen Shoulder is most commonly known as adhesive capsulitis, at it’s peak it is a painful stiffness that lingers in the shoulder join and generally makes it extremely difficult to do daily activities. While little is known about frozen shoulder it is said to occur when there is thickening, swelling and tightening of flexible tissues in or around your shoulder joint.

A wide arrays of symptoms generally accompany frozen shoulder and can range in very light to moderate pain to extreme pain.

Shoulder Injury: Are you one of millions of people in America who sleeps with your arm in one position all night long? Keeping your shoulder in one position for long periods of time could make you more susceptible to injury.

Tendonitis: Tendonitis is referred to as the inflammation and or swelling of the tendon. Tendonitis can cause shoulder pain generally as a result of irritation and inflammation caused by a shoulder injury or overuse of the shoulder.

Tears: Tears are most commonly experienced by athletes and a torn muscle or tendon can be the primary cause of severe pain and weakness in your arm and or shoulder.  Tendons are most commonly found in those individuals who are over the age of 40. In the rare occasion that a younger person experiences a tear it is generally cause by a freak accident.

Shoulder Instability: Shoulder instability is what happens whenever the ball portion of your shoulder joint does not go back into the socket. The symptoms generally associated with this pain may not always be concise and in fact can be very vague depending on the circumstances. Those suffering from shoulder instability report that it feels similar to a “sleeping arm” which includes tingling, weakness, numbness and a host of other neurological feelings.

 Bad Posture: Manual labor is not the only way you can injury your shoulder at work. If you are currently employed at a company that allows you to spend the majority of your work day on the computer and sitting at a desk you may be more prone to shoulder injury due to bad posture. If you struggle with standing up or sitting up straight, a standing desk may be a lifesaver to not only your back but also your shoulder.

Osteoarthritis: Is another condition that causes the shoulder joints to become stiff or painful. It is  noted to be one of the most common reasons many suffer from acromioclavicular.

Trauma: Freak accidents such as sports injuries or a vehicular accident could force your shoulder out place suddenly. This sudden misplacement of your shoulder could be just another cause of the annoying shoulder pain that appears to have come out of no where.

 Rotator Cuff Syndrome: Rotator cuff syndrome is often thrown around incorrectly by those looking to diagnose themselves. Rotator cuff syndrome is when you have damage to tendons in the rotator cuff in addition to complete tears.

 Diabetes: Believe it or not if you suffer from diabetes you are actually increasingly more likely to develop frozen shoulder and a host of other shoulder pains. While there has been no exact reason why those with diabetes suffer from this, the  statistics are still there.

Fibromyalgia:  Fibromyalgia is a common disorder tied to the mass spread of pain of your muscles, bones, and other tender areas.  This pain can be another root of shoulder pain.

 Gout: Most people for whatever reason associate gout with the pain in your feet; however, gout is not only directed at your feet. Each year more than 8 million Americans deal with gout which is a condition that triggers a painful inflammation that can be found in every joint of your body including your shoulder.

 Sprains: If you are physically active in sports or even at work you are at high risk for sprains and strains. These injuries could be very minor to very severe. Lifting heavy items or even incorrect lifting could lead to sprains in the shoulder.

 Surgery: Sometimes surgery can fix severe problems and in some cases, surgery can actually lead to even more issues. Several people may suffer with more pain post surgical procedures than they did prior to the surgery.

Whiplash: Whiplash typically occurs when an individual’s head moves back and forth in a jerking matter with great force. This typically only occurs during severe accidents.

Herniated Disk: A herniated or slipped disk can be felt in any part of your spine. This could include your neck and back. Pain felt from a herniated disk can easily be felt in places such as your shoulder.

Bursitis: Bursae are known as the fluid filed sacs that can be found surrounding your joints. Generally they can be found surrounding the areas where tendons, skin and musical tissues met bones. Once again any disorder that impacts the joints has the ability to lead to shoulder pain.

Ankylosing Spondylitis:  It’s form of arthritis that primarily impacts your spine. It causes sever inflammation and depending on the case could lead to chronic pain and or disability.

4 Common Shoulder Problems

Shoulder pain goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed in several medical practices across the world each and every year. These misdiagnosis do not occur because of lack of knowledge often it comes from not identifying when and how these shoulder problems first began.

While there are a plethora of shoulder problems out there being identified by those in the medical field there are 4 particular shoulder problems that tend to be the most common.

Tendon Inflammation: This shoulder problem much like it name suggests is when the tendons become inflamed and acute pain and tenderness permeates throughout your tendons.

Instability: According to a study conducted at the Knee and Shoulder Clinic instability occurs when the structures that surround the shoulder joint do not work to maintain the ball within its socket. If the joint is too loose, it may slide partially out of place, a condition called subluxation (partial dislocation of the shoulder joint).

Arthritis: Wear and Tear Arthritis is generally the type of arthritis most commonly referred to when describing arthritis that occurs in the region of the shoulder. While this is a common type of shoulder pain it is much different rom all other common shoulder problems as it only normally impacts those who are 50 and older.

Fracture: A fracture is another common shoulder problem but the great news about most minor to mild fractures is that if you immobilize your fracture in a sling you are almost guaranteed to experience recovery in about six weeks or even sooner.

 What Does Clicking in Shoulder Mean?

Have you recently heard your shoulder click when doing daily activities such as walking, working or even working out? Perhaps that clicking in your shoulder could mean that the rotator cuff tends are torn and that there is something loose in your shoulder. This painful and annoying injury could be the cause of any clicking in your shoulder that you may here.

Why Does My Shoulder Pop

If you are an athlete or one who is constantly physically engaged you may have experienced or heard someone experience their shoulder popping. While this popping can be very painful it can be more cosmetic unappealing than anything else. In many cases a shoulder popping could be as a result of a joint dislocation. As oppose to attempting to pop the shoulder back into place on our own consider seeking a physician to make sure you don’t further damage an already dislocated shoulder.

How to Diagnose Shoulder Pain?

It can be difficult especially if you are not a medical physician to actually diagnose shoulder pain.  There are so many different reasons why your shoulder could be in pain and a wrong diagnosis could lead you in the direction of an ineffective procedure. In order to effective diagnose your shoulder pain abandon everything you read online and consult your physician. Your physical can conduct X-Rays or even feel on certain areas of your shoulder in order to determine, what’s exactly is the leading cause of the pain you are experiencing in your shoulder. Once you have received your diagnosis not only will you know how you should proceed forward with your injury but you will also learn exactly what needs to be done in order to best treat the painful area.

How We Can Treat Shoulder Pain

If diagnosed correctly and quickly enough there are various ways in which you can treat shoulder pain. Your shoulder pain diagnosis does not have to be the end of physical activity as you know it. in fact, it could actually teach you valuable lessons on how to better protect yourself from shoulder injuries. Here are just a few ways you can treat your shoulder pain.


This may sound cliche but rest is really necessary when attempting to nurse any injury especially one related to your shoulder. If you are required to use the arm that you have the shoulder pain in a lot seek a physician’s advice on whether or not you should take some time off work. If taking time work isn’t possible perhaps ask for a modified work load to insure you are giving your shoulder a break.

Heat or cold to the sore area.

If you have a heating pad or even ice it may be a good idea to nurse the shoulder pain with one of those items. Heating or icing this area is just one way you can get your pain under control.

Medicines that reduce pain and swelling.

There are several over the counter options for those who are looking for some pain relief. A few of these pain relievers include Tylenol, Aspirin and even Ibuprofen.

Electrical stimulation of muscles and nerves.

The electrical stimulation is also known as NMES. This stimulation causes your muscles to contract using electric impulses.


Therapeutic ultra sound is used as a technique in physical therapy. It is alternating compression and rarefaction of sound waves. The gel that is used during the ultrasound is used in order to decrease friction and and help aid transmission of the ultrasonic waves.

Cortisone injection

Cortisone injections have been proven to help relieve pain and inflammation specifically in the shoulder. Cortisone injections should only be used when other treatments have failed to to improve the already existing shoulder pain.

Exercise to improve range-of-motion, strength, and function.

Believe it or not, exercising could actually hep your shoulder pain. Many people are often afraid to exercise especially when experiencing pain or an injury but in some cases exercises actually helps you improve your range of motion, strength and function.  In fact, if you don’t exercise you could actually cause more stiffness and tenderness in your area of pain.

Surgery if the tear does not improve with other treatments.

If your tear or injury does not improve after all of the above treatments then your very last option may be surgery. If you are unsure of going under the knife for your particular pain don’t be afraid to go seek out a second option. Getting additional opinions especially as it relates to an injury could literally be the difference between life or death. While many physicians may suggest surgery always be knowledgeable and recognize that not all tears and or injuries will require you to have surgery.

Do You Think Gua Sha Helps in Shoulder Pain?

Gua Sha for treating Shoulder

Gua Sha is the East Asian medical phenomena that literally means “scraping sha-bruises”. In order to do this procedure you don’t have to be a licensed doctor. Your primary job is to scrap the skin in order to produce light bruising. Many of those who practice the science of Gua Sha is that it releases any unhealthy toxins from painful areas in your body and  stimulates blood flow and healing.

While Gua Sha is a very grotesque treatment studies have actually show that Gua Sha is not only effective but has several benefits. Many who have used Gua Sha as a way to rid themselves from shoulder pain have found that it actually makes them feel like a brand new person.

Could Shoulder Pain Be Career Ending

Whether you are an athlete or you are working a typical 9-5 job in most cases shoulder pain is not career ending in fact, as mentioned above the sooner one becomes aware of the shoulder pain and the potential injury the more quickly the problem can not only be addressed but can be fixed.

If at any time you have difficulty lifting your arm, you can see an obvious deformity or you begin to feel the pain that is in your shoulder reaching all throughout your body you may need to rush to the emergency room. These could all be signs of a much major problem that needs to be addressed sooner than later.  If you’re financially unable to afford a visit to the emergency room go visit your local urgent care it is there where  they maybe able to treat your injury properly until you can see an  emergency room physician.

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