5 Possible Reasons Behind Your Shoulder Pain and Weakness
Shoulder pain and weakness happens more often than you might realize. In fact, somewhere between 4 and 26% of people experience shoulder pain in their lifetimes.
If you’re struggling with shoulder pain, it can impact your entire quality of life. Not knowing the root of your problem could cause it to persist. Instead, it can help to understand a few common causes that lead to shoulder pain.
Keep reading to discover the top five possible reasons behind your persisting shoulder pain.
By recognizing the different reasons why you’re likely in pain, you can see a doctorÂ and determine what you can do to ease the pain. Get started by discovering the likely reasons your shoulder is weak and aching!
1. Rotator Cuff Tear
One of the most common reasons for shoulder pain and weakness is a torn rotator cuff.
In one study, 50% of patientsÂ who reported shoulder pain had an issue with their rotator cuff.Â Meanwhile, the lifetime prevalence of shoulder pain has reached 70% with 40 to 50% of people reporting persisting pain.
You can either partially or absolutely tear a shoulder tendon. These injuries are usually the result of a repetitive movement. However, you can also tear your rotator cuff after direct trauma, such as a fall.
Many contact sports players experience this type of shoulder injury, too.
An acute tear, which happens abruptly, canÂ cause excruciating pain. Over time, your shoulder pain, weakness, and stiffness can become worse. It’s important to take note of the pain as soon as possible in order to receive proper treatment.
For most minor rotator cuff tears, rest can help. You might also want to apply ice or heat to ease inflammation. Meanwhile, over-the-counter pain medications can help ease the pain.
Your doctor might also recommend physical therapy.
Physical therapy can help strengthen your shoulder muscle. The exercises you’ll learn can also enhance the mechanics of your shoulder joint. A knowledgeable physical therapist can also help you improve your movements to reduce future pain.
2. Shoulder Impingement
Shoulder impingement injuries are a common form of shoulder pain that occurs after repeated overhead activity. For example, the strokes involved with swimming could cause shoulder impingement.
When you move your arm and shoulder, you potentially encroach, or pinch, your shoulder tendons and bursa. The bursa is responsible forÂ reducing friction between tissues of the body near your joints, including your shoulder joint. As a result, you could find that it’s difficult to move your arm.
Certain positions could make this type of shoulder injury and resulting symptoms worse, including:
- Overhead motion
- Arching back
- Lying on your affected shoulder
A physical therapist can help alleviate the pain. They’ll also help you learn how to move in order to prevent future damage to yourÂ injured shoulder.
3. Frozen Shoulder
Sometimes, the connective tissue that strains the shoulder joint can become inflamed and thick. Too much inflammation around this connective tissue can lead to front shoulder pain. As a result, you might develop a frozen shoulder.
Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis. This condition can limit your range of motion and lead to the development of scar tissue. Over time, a frozen shoulder can leave your shoulder joint without space to rotate properly.
It’s not entirely known why people develop this type of shoulder pain.
However, it’s most common in middle-aged women. There are certain factors that can put you more at risk of developing this condition as well. For example, patients with diabetes, thyroid issues, and Parkinson’s are often more susceptible.
A weakened immune system or hormonal balance can also make you more prone to joint inflammation. Inactivity over a period of time due to an illness, injury, or surgery could leave you vulnerable as well.
Frozen shoulder can take two to nine months to develop.
Symptoms include swelling, stiffness, and shoulder pain. Eventually, you’ll feel like you can no longer move your shoulder as well as you used to. You might also find it difficult to reach for high shelves.
Your doctor will likely prescribe medication, physical therapy, or surgery to ease your shoulder pain and weakness.
4. Dislocated Shoulder
Usually, you can identify when you have a dislocated shoulder simply by looking in the mirror. You’ll likely notice the area is disfigured. You’ll also notice an unexplained lump or bulge against your shoulder.
Other symptoms can indicate you’ve dislocated your shoulder, including:
- Severe pain
- Muscle spasms
Muscle spasms can even make your pain worse. You might also experience additional pain as you try to move your arm.
If you think you’ve dislocated your shoulder from the joint, see a doctor right away. They can help prevent additional pain and injury. In the meantime, doÂ not try to push your shoulder back into the joint on your own.
Trying to repair the injury on your own could lead to shoulder or joint damage. You might also cause damage to the nerves, blood vessels, muscles, or ligaments in the area.
Instead, split or sling your shoulder in place to keep it from moving.
Osteoarthritis affects over 32.5 million Americans. Also known as degenerative joint disease, this condition occurs as a result of wear and tear.
Over time, osteoarthritis can destroy the cartilage that cushions the space between your bones. As a result, the bones of the joint will likely begin to rub against each other. You’ll likely experience swelling, pain, and a restricted range of motion.
Osteoarthritis can make it difficult for you to lift your arm. You might also hear a grinding, snapping, or clicking sound as you move your shoulder.
Your doctor will likely center your treatment around managing your symptoms. Other forms of treatment will depend on the severity of your symptoms.
First, your doctor might prescribe exercise to strengthen the muscles around your joints. Ideal exercises include low-impact activities, including walking, swimming, and yoga.
Your doctor might also suggest heat and cold therapy, adequate sleep, weight loss, and medication.
Quit Shouldering the Pain: 5 Reasons for Shoulder Pain and Weakness
Don’t live life shouldering your pain. Instead, determine what’s causing your shoulder pain and weakness. Once you determine the root cause, you can get the treatment you need!
Want to discuss your pain? Schedule a consultation with our office today!