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Most Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

shoulder pain treatments in chicago il - advanced spine & sports care

Your shoulder is a complex part of your body and that means when you have shoulder pain, it could be caused by a variety of different things. To understand shoulder pain, first we need to know a little bit about how the shoulder is constructed. There are many of reasons you may experience shoulder pain, some of which are quite serious.

For instance, if your shoulder pain has come on suddenly and is accompanied by shortness of breath, you could be having a heart attack. In this case you will need immediate medical attention. But not to worry: most shoulder pain is a bother, but not caused by emergency medical situations. Here are the top four most common causes of shoulder pain:

Tendon problems
Tendons connect muscles to bone. The most commonly injured tendons in your shoulder are the four that are part of the rotator cuff. Tendons can be damaged by long-term degeneration, repetitive use, or sudden traumatic injury. They cause pain and, in some cases, make it difficult or impossible to move your shoulder and arm in certain ways.

Dislocation happens when the top of the humerus – the upper arm bone – comes out of the shoulder socket. In most cases, dislocation happens because of a sudden injury, but dislocation can also occur as results of the tendons, ligaments, and muscles that are supposed to keep the bone in place wearing down or loosening over time. Dislocation can be partial – called a subluxation – or total. Dislocations generally require medical attention in order to get the bones back in place.

Arthritis is the painful inflammation and stiffness of the body’s joints. Since the shoulder contains a large joint, arthritis in the shoulder can be quite painful. Most people experience some arthritis beginning in middle age as the cushioning between bones in their joints begins to degrade. In joints that are used frequently or are subject to repetitive movements, arthritis may set in earlier than it does in other joints.

As most people are aware, fractures or breaks in the bone usually occur from sudden injuries. If you believe you may have fractured your collar bone, shoulder bone, or arm, you should seek medical attention. Fractured bones that are not set correctly can cause long-term pain and movement problems, especially in the shoulder area.


A shoulder separation involves the joint where the collarbone and shoulder blade meet. Hard falls and tears in the ligaments can lead to separation, and a bump notices them on your shoulder. 

Cartilage Tear

The rubbery padding within your shoulder is known as the cartilage; severely injuring or tearing the cartilage; it will lead to intense pain in the shoulder. This is usually the cause of completing the same activity repeatedly or from hard falls or blows to the shoulder. If you have pain when reaching over your head, this can be a clear sign of a cartilage tear. 

Rotator Cuff Tear 

Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tenders that allow you to lift your arm and hold it in place. Like other tears, pain is caused by intense trauma, whether from direct contact or a fall. When you move your shoulder, you will feel intense pain and may even hear what sounds like crackling. 

Heart Attack 

Intense pain in the shoulder led by difficulty breathing and a tightened chest is a heart attack sign. Should you feel these symptoms, you will need emergency medical help as soon as possible. 

Shoulder Anatomy

There are three bones and a variety of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that make up you shoulder. Your upper arm bone – your humerus – ends under your shoulder blade (also called your scapula). This spot where the humerus ends is the joint called the glenoid. The head of the humerus is covered with muscles and tendons that attach the humerus to the scapula and keep it in place, while still allowing it full range of motion. These muscles and tendons are called the rotator cuff. If any of these muscles, tendons, ligaments, or bones are out of place or get injured, you can suffer from limited shoulder and arm movement as well as shoulder pain.

shoulder pain chicago

Shoulder Pain That’s a Pain in the Neck – Literally!

In some cases, your shoulder pain may be caused by a problem in your neck. There are a number of nerves that pass through the shoulder area that come from your neck. If these nerves become compressed in your neck, you may feel pain in your shoulder and arm.

It can be difficult to diagnose the cause of this type of shoulder pain because pain can be different in nearly anyone experiencing cervical nerve problems. The pain can be:

• Mild or severe
• Dull or sharp
• Constant or periodic (it comes and goes)
• Centered only in the shoulder or travel down the arm

So how do you know if your shoulder pain is actually being caused by a problem in your neck? Well, first of all, if you’ve ruled out the four most common causes of shoulder pain or if you’ve been treated for one or more of them and you are still experiencing pain, you might very well have a cervical nerve issue. Another key sign of a cervical nerve problem is getting pins-and-needles or numbness in your shoulder, arm, or even fingers.

Chicago Chiropractic Care for Shoulder Pain

Chiropractic offers a number of different benefits to people who are experiencing shoulder pain. While chiropractors are known to specialize in treating the spine, what many people don’t know is that chiropractors are also specialists in joint alignment. If your shoulder pain is being caused by a joint that is not in precise alignment, gentle and non-invasive chiropractic treatment can often lessen symptoms, or even make them go away all together.

Chiropractic care is especially useful when the cause of shoulder pain is a pinched or compressed cervical nerve. In that case, subtle adjustments to the alignment of the upper spine can often release pressure on the nerve, thereby eliminating the accompanying shoulder pain. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, please call our offices and arrange an appointment with one of our board-certified chiropractors. We can evaluate your shoulder and spine and help you decide on the best course of treatment.

Diagnosing Shoulder Pain with Advanced Spine & Sports Care 

If you are experiencing shoulder pain on a daily basis and it is playing a toll on your life, it is time to come to Advanced Spine & Sports Care so that we can get down to the bottom of this. First, we will start with getting to know any history of falls, sports injuries, etc., and then we will continue with a physical exam running a few tests while checking your shoulders, spine, and neck. We will then check to see how much you can move your shoulder before having issues. Dislocations and separations are easily identified during the initial exam. Deeper injuries may need to be identified by an X-ray. At Advanced Spine and Sports Care, we will not quit until we find an answer so that you can get back to doing the things you love to do free from excruciating pain and discomfort. If you feel as though there is something wrong with your shoulder, contact Advanced Spine and Sports Care!  

Shoulder Pain Treatments and Home Remedies

As incredible as it would be to be able to fix all boy related problems and injuries with a simple home remedy, that just simply isn't the case. The majority of the time, we recommend our patients to come in at the first sign of shoulder pain because leaving it will only further the injury making treatment more intense. Dislocations, separations, and fractures need the assistance of a medical professional, so if you fall or your shoulder undergoes incredible stress, call us right away. For other shoulder pain related injuries: 

Over The Counter Medicine-  Ibuprofen and Aspirin are gonna be your best friends for reducing swelling alongside alleviating some of the pain you are feeling. It is important to remember if the pain does not go away, do not keep taking medicine and contact Advanced Spine and Sports Care. 

Heat and Cold-  20 minutes on and 20 minutes off, switching between hot and cold. Grab a heat and cold pack (or a packet of frozen peas), and one at a time, leave the pack on for no longer than 20 minutes, after, switch to the other. Pain and inflammation will decrease using this method. 

Lotion-  Lotions with a heating agent are perfect for athletes who undergo a lot of pressure and need quick pain relief. Apply a small amount to the affected area, rub it in, and wait about 5 minutes so your body can have time to absorb it. 

Yoga / Easy Exercises- Ways to get back into more activities is gradually partaking in easy activities. This can be yoga, walks, lifting small weights, etc. When healing from shoulder injuries, never push your shoulder too hard too quickly, or you run the risk of starting the healing process all over again. 

Stretching- The golden rule at Advanced Spine and Sports Care is that you always stretch no matter what. When you wake up before you do an activity, and before you go to sleep. Get in the habit of constantly stretching, and you (and your shoulder) will thank us! 

Contact Advanced Spine & Sports Care If You Experience Shoulder Pain in Chicago

At Advanced Spine & Sports Care, we care deeply about our patients, and we will stop at nothing until they get the proper care they deserve. With a professional and personal team, each patient will be given the time and energy from each of our professionals ready to assist them in every way possible. Are you experiencing shoulder pain? Are you sick of shoulder pain holding you back? If the answer is yes, then don't wait another moment and come to Advanced Spine and Sports Care today and get the help you need.