You can feel pain in your shoulder as a result of many injuries or conditions, and not all of them may be problems with the shoulder joint itself. However, when it comes to long-lasting pain, medically referred to as chronic pain, chances are good that it’s from one of five common musculoskeletal issues.
For a diagnosis of chronic shoulder pain, you’ll likely be living with the pain for more than six months. The most common source of problems is the rotator cuff, a capsule of muscles and tendons that surround, stabilize, and support the shoulder joint. However, it’s not always the problem.
For an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment, visit the shoulder pain experts at Westside Pain Specialists.
Treatment for shoulder conditions always starts with conservative methods, becoming more aggressive only when your shoulder doesn’t respond. While it’s a concern for many patients, surgery is typically a last resort for chronic conditions.
5 conditions that cause lasting shoulder pain
There are plenty of reasons why your shoulder might hurt, including bone breaks, bursitis, and sprains. Usually, though, they respond to rest and treatment, so the pain associated with the conditions usually stops in a period of days or weeks, manageable with common pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications.
The most common causes for chronic shoulder pain are:
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Acromioclavicular arthritis
- Glenohumeral arthritis
- Glenohumeral instability
- Adhesive capsulitis
Let’s take a look at each of these disorders.
Rotator cuff injuries
Problems with the rotator cuff are more common after age 40 and will usually interfere with overhead movements of the shoulder. The joint could become weak, causing pain as you sleep, and various shoulder movements may be more restricted than normal. Injuries often result because of progressive wear on the tendons of the shoulder.
The shoulder has two joints, the acromioclavicular and glenohumeral joints. When arthritis affects the acromioclavicular joint, where the collarbone and shoulder blade meet, you have trouble reaching across your body as well as pain at the top of the shoulder. A shoulder injury early in life could increase your risk for this problem.
The upper bone of the arm, the humerus, fits into a shallow socket called the glenoid on the shoulder blade. Arthritis here causes pain and motion restrictions as well as cracks, clicks, and pops as your shoulder moves through its normal range of motion.
If you have a history of shoulder dislocations, the glenohumeral joint may become unstable, leading to further dislocations due to the stretching of ligaments that compromises the strength of the muscles that hold the arm bone in the socket.
Commonly known as frozen shoulder, adhesive capsulitis is an unusual long-term condition. While you’ll be in pain with restricted mobility, the condition gets worse and then resolves itself in 1-3 years. An inability to make a hitchhiking motion with your hand usually accompanies the condition.
Your priority may be controlling shoulder pain, regardless of its origin. Start the road to recovery with a visit to Westside Pain Specialists in Beverly Hills or Rancho Cucamonga. Call the nearest office to book your consultation today.