Shoulder Pain

What most people call the shoulder is really several joints that combine with tendons and muscles to allow a wide range of motion to the arm. Most shoulder problems involve soft tissue muscles, ligaments and tendons rather than bones. These primarily fall into three major categories:

  • Tendinitis/bursitis
  • Injury/instability
  • Arthritis


A tendon is a cord which connects muscle to bone or other tissue. Most tendintis is a result of the wearing process that takes place over a period of years. Rotator cuff injuries which may result from acute injury or degenerative changes in the tendon. The rotator cuff is the arrangement of muscles and their tendons which provide shoulder motion and stability.


Sometimes the bones in one of the shoulder joints move out of their normal position. This condition, instability, can result in dislocation of one of the joints in the shoulder. Reoccurring dislocation cause pain and unsteadiness when you raise your arm or move it away from your body.

Arthritis of the Shoulder

Arthritis Shoulder pain can also result from arthritis. There are many types of arthritis, but generally it involves wear and tear changes with inflammation of the joint, causing swelling and stiffness. Arthritis may be related to sports or work injuries.


Treatment generally involves altering activites, rest and physical therapy to help you improve strength and flexibility. Medication may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and reduce pain. Injections of drugs and surgery may be required to resolve shoulder problems.