Shoulder Pain: What Is Causing It?

Learn more about the ins and outs of shoulder pain.

Think of your shoulders as machines. All of the parts have to work together in harmony.

The structure of the shoulder consists of three bones held in place by tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Problems and pain in the shoulder can arise from injury or malfunction in one or more of those components, or from an illness. 

Let's look at some common causes of shoulder pain:

  • Osteoarthritis – the cartilage, which cushions the joints, wears down. The pain is often accompanied by stiffness and weakness.
  • Rotator cuff injury – inflammation or bruising to the tendons which connect the arm to the shoulder. Pain is experienced when reaching upwards or behind. This type of injury is often associated with repetitive motions.
  • Dislocated shoulder – occurs when the upper arm bones comes out of the shoulder socket. The injury is noticeable as the arm and shoulder will look deformed. 
  • Frozen shoulder – the tightening of the shoulder joint, which results in loss of movement in the joint and pain. It is caused by the tightening of the soft tissues surrounding the joint.

The source of shoulder pain is not relegated to problems with the shoulder anatomy. Pain in the nerves of the shoulder can also be caused by the following diseases:

  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Disease of the spine and neck.

Sudden pain that spreads from the chest to the shoulder could be a sign of a heart attack. In this case, if you feel as though you or someone you know is experiencing a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

Regardless of the source of your pain, the staff at Medical Center of McKinney is here to help. For a free physician referral, call our physician referral line at 855-296-6265.

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