The shoulder is the most movable joint in the human body and does a lot of work every day. Because shoulders have such a wide range of motion, they are far more prone to injuries and shoulder pain. Just like back pain, shoulder pain can range from mild to severe. It can keep you up at night or prevent you from having full mobility of your arm.
Why Does Your Shoulder Hurt?
Repetitive use of the shoulder can cause shoulder pain, whether it’s exercising your upper arms the same way every day or lifting something that’s too heavy for the strength of your shoulders. An acute sports injury, accident, or fall can result in shoulder pain.
When your shoulder is strained or forced to do more work than it is conditioned to do, the rotator cuff – the muscles that connect the shoulder socket and upper arm bone – suffers. Overuse of the rotator cuff can cause inflammation or even a tear.
An Incomplete Shoulder Workout
If you work diligently to strengthen your arms and shoulders with free weights, this is great. However, it’s essential to exercise fully to prevent muscle imbalance. Working with a personal trainer can be beneficial, as well as consulting a functional medicine practitioner.
You may think you’re strong because your arms look muscular and you lift regularly. Neglecting to do exercises that extend your shoulder or work it in a variety of directions can interfere with the flexibility of your joint and create an imbalance that, over time, could lead to shoulder pain.
The Breakdown of Shoulder Cushioning
While osteoarthritis most often appears in the hands, knees, and hips, the shoulders can also develop this stiffness in the back, with the problem progressing over time. Arthritis may be associated with older adults, but cartilage deterioration can begin in your 30s, especially if you have always played sports that ask a lot of your arms and shoulders.
Working a job that requires repetitive use of the shoulder muscle – whether that’s lifting children as a preschool teacher or working on an assembly line – also makes a person more susceptible to shoulder pain and osteoarthritis.
Too Loose or Too Stiff
Repetitive use of the shoulder or a serious hit to the shoulder can cause dislocation. This obviously causes severe pain and can result in ongoing shoulder instability. Without strength training or other shoulder exercises, the problem will be ongoing.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from a far-too-easily moved shoulder, there is a frozen shoulder. When there is a thickening of the connective tissue around the shoulder joints, this stiffening restricts shoulder movement. Shoulder pain is the major side effect, and this eventually transforms into chronic stiffness.
Identifying the Cause of Shoulder Pain
While many people know the exact cause of their shoulder pain and discomfort, others find their situation inexplicable. In cases like this, it’s important to consider whether other bodily illnesses are presenting as shoulder pain, like gallbladder problems or even a herniated disc.
Learn more about getting help for your shoulder pain and balancing your entire body. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Daniel Geck at the Restorative Wellness Center in Ann Arbor to discuss your concerns.