Shoulder Pain

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Shoulder pain can be a result of injury or disease of the shoulder joint. Injury can affect any of the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. Injury can also affect the ligaments, cartilage, menisci (plural for meniscus), and bones of the joint. The design of the shoulder joint is such that it sacrifices stability for mobility. As an extremely mobile joint that plays a central role in the action of a major extremity, the shoulder is at risk for injury. Common injuries of the shoulder can lead to inflammation of the bursae (bursitis) or tendons (tendonitis) and result in rotator cuff dysfunction as well as instability and frozen shoulder. Fracture of the bones of the shoulder (such as from biking falls) can cause intense shoulder pain.

Pain can also occur in the shoulder from diseases or conditions that involve the shoulder joint (including arthritis), the soft tissues and bones surrounding the shoulder, or the nerves that supply sensation to the shoulder area. Occasionally, shoulder pain can be a result of a heart attack. It is unusual for cancer to cause shoulder pain.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/15/2014

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REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

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Causes of Shoulder Pain
    • Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures) A broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures such as compressed, open, stress, greenstick, spiral,...learn more »
      In This Article
      Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures) Article
      • What is a broken bone (fracture)?
      • What causes a broken bone?
      • What are the most common types of broken bones?
      • Compression fracture
      • Skull fracture
      • Stress fracture
      • What are the most common bones that are broken?
      • Broken hand or fingers
      • Broken wrist
      • Broken hip
      • Broken leg
      • Broken toe
      • Broken shoulder
      • What are the signs and symptoms of a broken bone?
      • When should I call a doctor if I think I have broken a bone?
      • How is a broken bone diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for a broken bone?
      • What about surgery for a broken bone?
      • How can fractures be prevented?
      • What is the prognosis for a broken bone?
    • Bursitis Bursae (one is a bursa) are fluid-filled sacs that cushion areas of friction between tendon and bone or skin. Like air-filled...learn more »
      In This Article
      Bursitis Article
      • Bursitis Overview
      • Bursitis Causes
      • Bursitis Symptoms and Signs
      • When to Seek Medical Care
      • Bursitis Diagnosis
      • Bursitis Treatment
      • Bursitis Home Remedies
      • Medical Treatment
      • Follow-up
      • Bursitis Prevention
      • Bursitis Prognosis
      • Bursitis Pictures
    • Calcific Bursitis Calcific bursitis is the calcification of the bursa caused by chronic inflammation of the bursa. Calcific bursitis most commonly...learn more »
      In This Article
      Calcific Bursitis Article
      • What is calcific bursitis?
      • What are causes and risk factors for calcific bursitis?
      • What are symptoms and signs of calcific bursitis?
      • How is calcific bursitis diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment of calcific bursitis?
      • What is the prognosis of calcific bursitis?
      • Can calcific bursitis be prevented?
    • Cancer Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Cancer Article
      • Cancer facts
      • What is cancer?
      • What causes cancer?
      • What are cancer symptoms and signs?
      • What are the different types of cancer?
      • How is cancer diagnosed?
      • How is cancer staging determined?
      • What is the treatment for cancer?
      • What is the prognosis for cancer?
      • Can cancer be prevented?
      • Where can people find more information about cancer?
    • Dislocated Shoulder The shoulder is the most often dislocated joint in the body due to its mobility. Dislocation occurs when the head of the humerus...learn more »
      In This Article
      Dislocated Shoulder Article
      • Shoulder dislocation facts
      • What is dislocation of the shoulder? What causes a shoulder dislocation?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of a dislocated shoulder?
      • How do physicians diagnose dislocated shoulders?
      • What is the treatment for a dislocated shoulder?
      • What happens after reduction of a shoulder dislocation?
      • What is appropriate follow-up following a shoulder dislocation?
      • What are potential complications of a shoulder dislocation?
    • Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and tender points. Stress...learn more »
      In This Article
      Fibromyalgia Article
      • Fibromyalgia facts
      • What is fibromyalgia?
      • What causes fibromyalgia?
      • Is fibromyalgia hereditary?
      • What are risk factors for fibromyalgia?
      • What are fibromyalgia symptoms and signs?
      • How do physicians diagnose fibromyalgia?
      • What is the treatment for fibromyalgia?
      • Are there any home remedies for fibromyalgia?
      • Does diet or exercise affect fibromyalgia?
      • What is the prognosis of fibromyalgia?
      • Is it possible to prevent fibromyalgia?
      • Are there support groups for fibromyalgia?
      • What is the latest research on fibromyalgia?
    • Head and Neck Cancer Head and neck cancer is cancer of the oral cavity, salivary glands, paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, or lymph...learn more »
      In This Article
      Head and Neck Cancer Article
      • Head and neck cancer facts*
      • What is cancer?
      • What kinds of cancers are considered cancers of the head and neck?
      • How common are head and neck cancers?
      • What causes head and neck cancers?
      • What are common symptoms of head and neck cancers?
      • How are head and neck cancers diagnosed?
      • What health professionals treat patients with head and neck cancers?
      • How are head and neck cancers treated?
      • Are clinical trials (research studies) available for patients with head and neck cancers?
      • What rehabilitation or support options are available for patients with head and neck cancers?
      • Is follow-up treatment necessary? What does it involve?
      • What can people who have had head and neck cancer do to reduce the risk of developing a second primary (new) cancer?
    • Heart Attack Heart attack happens when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. A heart...learn more »
      In This Article
      Heart Attack Article
      • Heart attack facts
      • What is a heart attack?
      • What causes a heart attack?
      • What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
      • What are the complications of a heart attack?
      • What are the risk factors for atherosclerosis and heart attack?
      • How is a heart attack diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for heart attack?
      • What are the risk factors for heart attack in women?
      • What are the symptoms of heart attack in women and how is heart attack diagnosed?
      • How is heart attack in women treated?
      • What about hormone therapy and heart attack in women?
      • What is new in heart attack?
    • Lung Cancer Lung cancer kills more men and women than any other form of cancer. Eight out of 10 lung cancers are due to tobacco smoke. Lung...learn more »
    • Myofascial Pain Syndrome Myofascial pain syndrome is muscle pain in the body's soft tissues due to injury or strain. Symptoms include muscle pain with...learn more »
      In This Article
      Myofascial Pain Syndrome Article
      • Myofascial pain syndrome facts
      • What is myofascial pain syndrome?
      • What are causes and risk factors for myofascial pain syndrome?
      • What are myofascial pain syndrome symptoms and signs?
      • How is myofascial pain syndrome diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for myofascial pain syndrome?
      • What is the prognosis of myofascial pain syndrome?
      • Can myofascial pain syndrome be prevented?
    • Neck Pain (Cervical Pain) Neck pain (cervical pain) may be caused by any number of disorders and diseases. Tenderness is another symptom of neck pain....learn more »
      In This Article
      Neck Pain (Cervical Pain) Article
      • What is neck pain? What are causes and risk factors for neck pain?
      • What are other symptoms that are associated with neck pain?
      • What are the structures of the neck?
      • How is neck pain diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for neck pain? What are home remedies for neck pain?
      • What is the prognosis for neck pain?
      • Is it possible to prevent neck pain?
    • Radiculopathy Radiculopathy, a condition in which a nerve or nerves along the spine are compressed causing pain, numbness, weakenss, and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Radiculopathy Article
      • Radiculopathy facts
      • What is radiculopathy?
      • What are the risk factors for radiculopathy?
      • What are the causes of radiculopathy?
      • What are the symptoms of radiculopathy?
      • How is radiculopathy diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for radiculopathy?
      • Can radiculopathy be prevented?
      • What is the outlook for radiculopathy?
    • Rotator Cuff Disease Rotator cuff disease is damage to any of the four tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. Shoulder pain and tenderness are...learn more »
      In This Article
      Rotator Cuff Disease Article
      • What is the rotator cuff?
      • What causes rotator cuff disease?
      • How is the rotator cuff injured?
      • What are symptoms of rotator cuff disease?
      • How is rotator cuff disease diagnosed?
      • How is rotator cuff disease treated?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for rotator cuff disease?
      • Can rotator cuff disease be prevented?
      • Rotator cuff disease facts
    • Shoulder Bursitis Shoulder bursitis is inflammation of the shoulder bursa. Bursitis may be caused by injury, infection, or a rheumatic condition....learn more »
      In This Article
      Shoulder Bursitis Article
      • What is shoulder bursitis?
      • How does a bursa become inflamed?
      • What are shoulder bursitis symptoms and signs? How is shoulder bursitis diagnosed?
      • How is shoulder bursitis treated?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for shoulder bursitis?
      • Can shoulder bursitis be prevented?
Other Causes of Shoulder Pain
  • Bone Tumor
  • Brachial Plexus Injury
  • Cartilage Tear (Usually Labrum Tear)
  • Irritation Under Diaphragm
Examples of Medications for Shoulder Pain


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