Causes Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is a common complaint that many people have that can severely affect your ability to enjoy your life and do the things you want to do.

There are many different causes of shoulder pain. Some of the most common causes can be found listed below.


As we age, the cartilage in our shoulders wear down. This causes the bones in the shoulders to grind against each other, causing pain.


A tendon connects muscle to bone. The tendons of the shoulder can be inflamed, oftentimes due to overuse or injury. The inflammation of the tendon can cause pain.


A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that cushions the tendons and muscles near your shoulder joint. When this is inflamed, it can lead to pain.

Tendon Tears

The splitting and tearing of tendons may occur due to injury, age and/or overuse. Tendon tears may be partial or complete, but both can lead to pain.


Impingement occurs when the shoulder blade puts pressure on the underlying soft tissues. You may experience pain from impingement when you lift your arm.


Shoulder instability, or dislocation, occurs when the head of the bone of your upper arm is forced out of the shoulder socket. This can happen as a result of sudden injury or from overuse. When the ligaments, tendons, and muscles around the shoulder become loose or torn, dislocations can occur repeatedly.


Fractures are broken bones. Shoulder fractures commonly involve the clavicle (collarbone), humerus (upper arm bone) and scapula (shoulder blade. Fractures often cause severe pain, swelling, and bruising about the shoulder.

Treatments for Shoulder Pain

Treatment will depend on what is causing your pain. Always consult with your physician to decide what is the best option for you.


  • Change how your perform certain activities to decrease stress on your shoulders.
  • Limit lifting or carrying heavy things. Try to keep bags/handbags light.

Conservative Treatments


  • Medication may help to relax tight muscles, decrease inflammation, and to provide pain relief.

Physical Therapy

  • Your physical therapist may evaluate what activities are increasing the pain in your shoulders and teach you better ways to perform them. He/she can also teach you different exercises that will strengthen the muscles around your shoulders, which will help decrease pain and increase flexibility.
  • Treatment may include heat, ice, massage, ultrasound, and electric stimulation.

Interventional Pain Management


Precise, ultrasound-guided injections of medications or steroids into the your shoulder can decrease inflammation and pain.


Sometimes fluid can build up in the shoulder for different reasons, such as infection. This fluid buildup can cause pain. When a shoulder is aspirated, the fluid buildup is removed from the shoulder.

Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative Medicine is a new treatment for pain that uses your own body cells to help heal injuries that may be at the source of your pain. Although it is not covered by health insurances, it can help heal injuries that might otherwise require surgery. Please check our page about Regenerative Medicine to learn more about this new cutting edge medical technology.


If you’ve tried all other treatments, surgery may be your last option. Surgery should only be considered as a last resort. Arthroscopy to remove scar tissue or to repair torn tissues. Larger reconstructions or shoulder join replacements are other surgeries that your physician may consider.

The information on this website is not meant to diagnose or treat your pain.
It is for informational purposes only.

Always consult with your physician to decide what is the best option for you.

If you would like to make an appointment with one of our providers to learn more, please call us at
(718) 224-1600