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With almost all daily responsibilities, you rely on your shoulder. Your shoulder gives you the freedom to move your arm in lots of different directions to accomplish so many tasks.

While there are actually a few joints that help make up the shoulder complex, the shoulder joint that you likely are thinking about when you hear ‘shoulder’ is the place where the top of your arm bone (humerus) meets the shoulder blade (glenoid fossa).

Here, soft tissues like ligaments, muscles, tendons, and cartilage work together to help support and provide structure to the shoulder.

Common Sources of Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can be brought on by a number of causes. For many of these conditions or injuries, there are several treatment options available.

  1. Inflammation, like tendinitis, which refers to the inflammation of a tendon, can be a source of shoulder pain. Around the shoulder, this can involve the rotator cuff, biceps, or other tendons that are close to or cross over the shoulder joint.
  2. Bursitis is another possible cause of pain. While tendinitis refers to an inflammation of a tendon, bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa, which is a fluid-filled sac around the joint area meant to provide cushion and decrease friction.
  3. Other conditions, like arthritis, can impact the cartilage inside of the joint, which can lead to stiffness, pain, or limitations in range of motion. The cartilage inside of the joint may also be torn or injured for other reasons, such as during a collision or sport. Collisions or falls may also result in a fracture or dislocation.
  4. If ligaments or muscles are stressed or injured, this is often called a sprain (for a ligament) or strain (for a muscle).
  5. Another possible cause of shoulder pain is called impingement, which means a structure around the joint is getting pinched or has pressure placed on it by another structure.

Common Shoulder Treatments

When you’re feeling pain, it’s important to seek help from a healthcare professional, like your primary care physician or a physical therapist, who can help to identify the cause of the pain and can work with you to explore the right treatment options for you.

  • Physical therapy is a common first line of treatment for those dealing with shoulder pain. A physical therapist will evaluate your pain in order to identify a possible diagnosis. Then, they will collaborate with you to put together a plan of action.


  • These plans often include exercises, and they can also include manual treatments like soft tissue mobilization or electrical stimulation to provide pain relief. The goals of physical therapy often include decreasing pain and/or inflammation, increasing range of motion, improving muscle strength, and, depending on the condition, it may also include lifestyle or home modifications as well as education as needed.


  • A physician may prescribe medications or injections, as well. These medications are often meant to reduce pain or inflammation, and they may be used in addition to other treatments, like physical therapy. In some cases, surgery may be discussed or recommended as a treatment option.


At Orthopedic ONE, our team of shoulder surgeons is one of world class quality. With fellowship training in basic arthroscopic shoulder surgeries to advanced shoulder replacement surgery, reverse shoulder replacement surgery, rotator cuff repair surgery and reconstruction procedures, when you choose a shoulder surgeon at Orthopedic ONE, you are in highly qualified and experienced hands. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, call Orthopedic ONE today and let us help you get back to enjoying your life.

These lists are not inclusive of all conditions and procedures. In order to obtain a complete and accurate diagnosis, a physician should assess your individual situation. Following diagnosis, your physician will discuss appropriate treatment options with you – both surgical and non-surgical. Schedule an appointment with an Orthopedic ONE physician.

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