Pain Management, Sports Medicine & Metabolic Health Services

Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can be a debilitating condition that affects your ability to perform daily tasks. Understanding the causes, how it’s diagnosed, and the treatment options can help you manage and potentially overcome this challenging issue.

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain can arise from a variety of issues, including:

  • Rotator cuff injuries: The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder. Overuse or acute injury can lead to tears or inflammation, causing pain.
  • Frozen shoulder: Also known as adhesive capsulitis, this condition involves stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint.
  • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are common causes of shoulder pain, resulting from inflammation and wear and tear in the shoulder joint.

  • Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursae, small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints, can cause shoulder pain.

  • Fractures: Broken bones in the shoulder, such as the collarbone or upper arm bone, can cause significant pain

Diagnosing Shoulder Pain

A comprehensive evaluation is crucial to diagnosing the cause of shoulder pain. This typically involves:

  • Physical Examination: Your doctor will examine your shoulder, assessing pain levels, range of motion, and strength.
  • Medical History: Information about prior injuries, your lifestyle, and the nature of your pain can provide valuable clues.
  • Imaging Tests: X-rays, MRIs, and ultrasounds can provide a detailed view of your shoulder and identify issues such as fractures or soft tissue damage.
  • Lab Tests: Blood tests can help identify conditions such as arthritis or infections.

Treatment Options for Shoulder Pain

Treatment for shoulder pain depends on the cause and severity of the condition. Options include:

  • Conservative Treatments: These include rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers. Physical therapy exercises can help
    improve strength and flexibility.
  • Prescription Medications: For severe pain or underlying conditions like arthritis, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain
    relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

  • Injections: Steroids or hyaluronic acid injections can provide relief for some shoulder conditions.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, or when conservative treatments fail, surgery may be necessary. This could involve arthroscopy to repair torn tissues, joint replacement for severe arthritis, or open surgery for complex fractures.


Shoulder pain can significantly impact your quality of life, but understanding its causes, how it’s diagnosed, and the available treatment options can help you regain control. Always consult with a healthcare professional if you’re experiencing shoulder pain to ensure you receive the correct diagnosis and treatment. Remember that conservative treatments are often effective, but in some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary.