Shoulder pain can really stick around for a long time and make it hard to do regular stuff like getting dressed, fixing your hair, or even just eating. It can bother you every single day and make everything feel like a big chore. If your shoulder hurts or it keeps getting worse, it’s a good idea to go see experts.

Our shoulders do a lot for us every day. They help us do all sorts of things like reaching, lifting, holding, carrying, pushing, and pulling. Because they’re always working hard, it’s no surprise that sometimes they can start to hurt or feel uncomfortable.

When there’s swelling, damage, or changes to the bone around the rotator cuff in the shoulder, it can cause pain that makes it tough to do everyday activities with our arms. So, it’s important to take care of our shoulders and pay attention to any pain or discomfort we might feel.

About shoulder pain

About shoulder pain
About shoulder pain

What makes the shoulder vulnerable to injury?

Our shoulders aren’t just one simple joint. They’re actually made up of lots of different parts that all work together to help us move our arms smoothly and easily. These parts include joints, tendons, and muscles, and they all play a role in making sure our shoulders can rotate and stay stable.

But the shoulder doesn’t work alone; it’s connected to many other parts of our body too, like:

  • The neck
  • Ribs
  • Shoulder blade (also called the scapula)
  • Collarbone (or clavicle)
  • The upper back area of the spine (known as the thoracic region)
  • The upper arm bone (called the humerus)

Because there are so many pieces involved in making our shoulders work right, it also means that if something goes wrong with any of these parts, it can cause our shoulders to hurt or feel stiff.

There are lots of reasons why our shoulders might feel this way, like if we get injured, have an infection, or if there’s a problem with our muscles. So, it’s important to take care of our shoulders and listen to our bodies if they start to feel uncomfortable.

Main causes

Sometimes, the pain can be really bad, like when it’s so strong that it’s an emergency and needs a doctor’s help right away. This usually happens when the shoulder gets dislocated, separated, or fractured, which means the bones get moved or broken in a bad way.

But there are also other reasons why our shoulders might hurt. Some of the common ones are:

  • Arthritis: This is when the joints in our shoulder get swollen and sore.
  • Impingement: This happens when the muscles and tendons in our shoulder get squeezed too much.
  • Instability: If our shoulder joint isn’t holding together like it should, it can make our shoulder feel wobbly or loose.
  • Overuse: Doing the same movements with our shoulder over and over again can make it hurt.
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And there are lots of other things that can cause shoulder pain too:

Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

The rotator cuff is like a team of muscles that help our shoulder move smoothly and stay steady. These muscles are attached to our arm bone in a spot under a bony bump on our shoulder bone. But sometimes, if the rotator cuff gets inflamed, stuck, or squeezed under this bone, it can get swollen and sore.

Most of the time, people start feeling problems with their rotator cuff when they get older. If anything around the rotator cuff, like swelling, damage, or changes to the bone, happens, it can make our shoulder hurt and make it hard to do normal things. Sometimes, if we use our shoulder too much or get hurt, one of the tendons in the rotator cuff can tear, which can really hurt a lot.

Biceps Tendonitis

The biceps tendon is a strong, rope-like thing that connects our biceps muscle in our upper arm to the front of our shoulder. It’s also called the long head of the biceps tendon.

This tendon can get stuck, rubbed the wrong way, or inflamed because of how our shoulder blade bone is shaped or because of some ligaments that connect to our collarbone and shoulder blade. When this happens, it can make the front of our shoulder hurt and feel weak.

Bursitis

Bursitis is a kind of pain that happens when the small, fluid-filled sacs in our body, called bursae, get sore. These sacs sit near our joints and help cushion our bones, tendons, and muscles, so they can move smoothly. In our shoulders, bursitis happens when the bursae between the big arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade get inflamed or squeezed.

Humerus
Humerus

What is humerus? The humerus is a big bone in your arm that goes from your shoulder down to your elbow. It connects your shoulder blade to the two bones in your lower arm, called the radius and ulna. The humerus has three main parts. The top part has a round head, a skinny neck, and two short bits sticking out.

Usually, bursitis comes from either getting hurt or using our muscles too much, but sometimes it can also come from an infection. When we have bursitis, our shoulder might hurt, swell up, or feel tender around the joint.

Frozen Shoulder

When our shoulder gets really painful and starts losing its ability to move, it might be what’s called a frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis. This happens when our shoulder doesn’t get used enough, when certain diseases get worse, or when there isn’t enough fluid in the joint to help it move smoothly. Sometimes, bands of tissue can even grow inside the joint and stop it from moving properly.

Effective stretching exercises to relieve shoulder pain

If your shoulder has been hurting because of an injury, and it’s not getting better even after a couple of weeks, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. They can give you the right diagnosis and make sure there’s nothing serious going on.

Some things that cause shoulder pain, like injuries to the rotator cuff or a frozen shoulder, can get worse over time if you don’t treat them. If home remedies and other simple treatments aren’t helping, you might need surgery to fix the problem.

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Seeing a physical therapist can also be really helpful if your shoulder hurts but it’s not too bad. They’ll check how much you can move your shoulder and how strong it is, and they’ll watch how your shoulder moves too. Then, they’ll give you some exercises and stretches to do that can help make the pain go away and stop your shoulder from getting worse.

It’s important to listen to what they say and do the exercises they give you so you can start feeling better. Some of the exercises may be:

Pendulum

Pendulum stretch
Pendulum stretch

The pendulum stretch is a great way to loosen up your shoulder, making it more flexible, helping it move better, and easing any pain you might have.

  • To do this stretch, stand over a table or chair and lean on it with your non-injured arm.
  • Let your sore arm hang down straight, and then start moving it around in circles.
  • Begin with small circles, and as you go, make the circles bigger.
  • Change directions every few minutes.
  • Do this stretch 5 to 10 times during the day.

Arm Across the Chest

This exercise is perfect for making your shoulder and the muscles around it more flexible and improving how far you can move it.

  • First, hold your right hand out in front of you, close to your waist.
  • Then, use your left hand to grab your right elbow and gently pull your right arm to the left, across your chest.
  • Lower your arm until the pain starts to ease up.
  • Stay in this position for about 30 to 50 seconds, then let go and relax.
  • Repeat this stretch 3 to 5 times.

It’s a great way to help your shoulder feel better and move more freely.

Neck Release

Neck Release
Neck Release

This soothing exercise is perfect for easing tension in your neck and shoulders, making them feel more relaxed and relieving any pain you might be feeling.

  • To start, sit up nice and straight.
  • Then, slowly lower your chin towards your chest until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your neck.
  • You can also tilt your head to the side, leaning towards your left shoulder to stretch the right side.
  • Or vice versa, leaning towards your right shoulder to stretch the left side.
  • Hold the stretch on each side for about a minute.
  • And try taking some deep breaths to help you relax even more and get an even better stretch.

Chest Expansion

This exercise is all about making your shoulders more flexible and improving how far you can move them.

You’ll need something like an exercise band, rope, strap, or even a tie for this one.

  • Grab hold of it with both hands behind your back.
  • Then, gently pull your shoulder blades towards each other and lift your chin towards the ceiling.
  • Hold this position for about 10 to 15 seconds, making sure to take deep breaths while you do it.
  • Repeat this stretch 3 to 5 times to really help loosen up your shoulders and make them feel great.

If you are interested in related exercises, this YOUTUBE video right below may be helpful for you to explore the world of related exercises! Check it out!

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