What’s the Cause Behind My Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain is a common complaint heard in many doctors’ offices. Like any medical problem, receiving a proper diagnosis for the cause of the pain is important to help determine the proper treatment method. Below is a list of injuries and conditions that can cause shoulder pain, along with signs that you should seek medical attention.

Bursitis or Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

This is the most common cause of shoulder pain. Either the tendons or the bursa in the shoulder are inflamed.

Rotator Cuff Tear

This painful condition occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff separate from the bone.

Frozen Shoulder

This condition leads to a very stiff shoulder joint and is also known as adhesive capsulitis.

Shoulder Instability

Often caused by a traumatic injury, instability can cause the joint to be loose, increasing the likelihood of sustaining more dislocations in the future.


This condition is less common than arthritis in the hip or knee, but if it is severe enough, it could require replacement of the joint.

Signs that you should consult a doctor:

  • Inability to use the arm or carry objects
  • Pain persists beyond a few days
  • You are unable to raise your arm
  • You notice bruising or significant swelling around the joint or arm
  • You notice signs of infection such as redness, warmth, or fever
  • Your pain occurs at night or while resting

It is important to remember that proper treatment of shoulder pain relies on a proper diagnosis of the cause of the pain. If you are unsure what the cause of your pain is, medical attention should be sought before beginning treatment. Our shoulder specialist at The Hand & Upper Extremity Center of Georgia can assess your symptoms and come up with a custom treatment program to fit your needs. To make an appointment, call (404) 255-0226 or request an appointment online.