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Shoulder Pain Symptoms

Shoulder Pain Symptoms

Your shoulder is essential for your daily activities. This muscle allows you to throw a ball, reach for objects, lift items, and even do household chores. Unfortunately, when you feel pain in your shoulder, you won’t be able to carry out these activities.

Shoulder pain comes with several symptoms besides pain. You may experience stiffness, muscle spasms, and swelling. 

Fortunately, you can deal with shoulder pain at home if you follow the remedies we will explore in this article. However, you may need to see a doctor in certain situations.

This article explores the symptoms of shoulder pain when you should see a doctor, and how physical therapy can help.

What Does Shoulder Pain Feel Like?

Shoulder pain is a condition where you feel pain around your shoulder joint. This pain can be intense, sharp, or dull. Sometimes, the pain may even persist for months or go away on its own. Also, if your pain worsens at night and you are unable to carry out your daily activities, you have shoulder pain.

Common Symptoms of Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is more than general discomfort in your shoulder joint. This pain is often accompanied by other symptoms that can worsen your discomfort. Common symptoms of shoulder pain include the following;


A stiff shoulder occurs when you cannot move your shoulder as freely as you used to. For instance, if you cannot reach for a shelf or feel pain when you brush your hair, your shoulder is stiff. 

Swelling And Redness

You may experience this particular symptom if you have inflammation in your shoulder. If your shoulder looks swollen or warm whenever you try to touch it, you should see your doctor immediately. 

Clicking Or Popping Sensation

Another symptom of shoulder pain is a clicking or popping sensation. You should seek immediate medical attention if you hear a click or pop when you move your shoulder.

What Conditions Cause Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain can result from several conditions. It may be minor or severe. The primary conditions that cause shoulder pain include;


This condition occurs when your bursa becomes inflamed. The bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac in your shoulder. It provides cushioning between your bones and the muscles and tendons. An inflammation in your bursa causes friction in your shoulder.

You may experience pain, swelling, and shoulder stiffness if you have bursitis. This pain is usually sudden and worsens when you overuse your muscles.

Rotator Cuff Injury

An irritation or damage to your rotator cuff results in injury. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons surrounding your shoulder joints. This group of muscles keeps your shoulder stable.

If you have a rotator cuff injury, the pain may be sharp or severe. You may also experience muscle weakness. Also, everyday activities can increase your shoulder pain.


Your shoulder might dislocate when the top of your arm pops out of its socket. Shoulder dislocation can occur if you fall on your shoulder or receive a direct blow to your shoulder. Violent twisting of the arm can also result in a dislocation. 

A shoulder dislocation causes sudden pain. You may also experience swelling, muscle spasms, numbness, and a visible deformity.


Tendinitis occurs when your tendon is irritated or inflamed. The tendon is a thick cord that attaches to your bones and muscles. You may experience shoulder tendinitis if you experience a blow to your shoulder or overuse your joints. This condition also occurs with repetitive movements.

Tendinitis is common in athletes and people who have sustained shoulder injuries. You may experience a dull ache and swelling. Daily activities can also trigger your pain.


This condition occurs when the protective cartilage cushioning the ends of your bones wears down. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. You are at risk of this condition if your occupation is physically demanding or if you have had a shoulder injury. Ageing and sports also increase your chances of developing osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis starts gradually, and it can be a sharp or severe pain. At other times, you may experience a dull ache. Rest, exertion, and everyday activities can make your pain worse. You may also experience shoulder stiffness.

Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy occurs outside the womb, in the fallopian tube. Pregnancy and shoulder pain may seem unrelated, but they are. Ectopic pregnancy can cause bleeding. If the blood leaks from the fallopian tube, you may experience shoulder pain.

Ectopic pregnancy symptoms shoulder pain may be dull or severe. The severity of pain depends on where the blood collects and the irritated nerves.

Heart Attack

A heart attack can also cause shoulder pain. This condition occurs when blood flow to your heart is reduced or blocked. During a heart attack, you will experience chest pain. This pain can then radiate to your shoulder. 

Shoulder pain and heart attack symptoms include numbness, tingling, and stiffness. The pain may also travel up and down your arm, into your shoulder blades, and upper back.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer occurs when harmful cells in the lungs grow out of control. You may experience shoulder pain from lung cancer if the cancer spreads to the bones around the shoulder. A tumor exerting pressure on a nearby nerve also causes shoulder pain.

Lung cancer shoulder pain symptoms are severe and persistent. You may also experience an inability to move your arm and muscle weakness.

Is Left Shoulder Pain Different From Right Shoulder Pain?

The location of your shoulder pain depends on the underlying cause. You may experience pain in your right shoulder if you have issues with your gallbladder. Damage to your nerves, muscles, or tendons can also cause discomfort in your right shoulder. Right shoulder pain symptoms include muscle weakness and pain that worsens at night.

If you have pain in your left shoulder, you may have heart-related issues. This pain can feel sudden and crushing. It may also radiate to other areas of your body, like your arm or neck. Left shoulder pain symptoms may be accompanied by dizziness and shortness of breath.

Can You Treat Shoulder Pain At Home?

Home remedies can relieve shoulder pain, depending on its severity and underlying cause. Some treatments you can try at home include;


RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This treatment can help reduce pain and swelling. It is more suitable for minor shoulder pain.

Rest the injured area and take a break from any activity that causes pain or discomfort.

Ice the affected area to reduce swelling and inflammation. Apply an ice pack for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, multiple times a day. When swelling has reduced after 48 to 72 hours, you can apply heat to the area. When applying ice or heat to the affected area, avoid doing so directly. Instead, wrap the cold or heat pack in a towel before using it on your skin.

Compression can also decrease swelling. Wrap the affected area with a bandage to reduce swelling. Avoid wrapping it too tightly to prevent numbness and increased swelling.

Elevation can also reduce shoulder pain. Place the injured area on a pillow. Ensure it is at or above the level of the heart to minimize swelling.

Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers

You can use over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce shoulder pain in Merrick. Drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen can help with your pain.

Stretching And Strengthening Exercises

You can try gentle stretching and strengthening exercises at home to relieve your pain. These exercises can increase your flexibility and range of motion. When doing these exercises, start slowly and stop if you feel any discomfort. 

It is important to check in with your doctor or physical therapist to know safe exercises for you.

When Should You Contact Your Doctor?

You should contact your doctor if your shoulder pain is severe and persists after your home treatment. Inform your doctor if you also experience swelling, warmth, or redness. Muscle weakness and a popping sound in your shoulder require immediate medical attention.

Your doctor will carry out a shoulder pain symptoms diagnosis to determine the cause of your pain.

How Does Physical Therapy Help With Shoulder Pain Symptoms?

Physical therapy in Amityville, NY, can help with the rehabilitation of your shoulder. Your physical therapist will examine your symptoms and create a suitable treatment plan for your pain. The treatment plan may include stretching and strengthening exercises, heat or ice therapy, and hands-on manipulation.

Your physical therapist may perform massages, joint mobilization, or electrical stimulation. You will also receive education on preventing a recurrence of the pain.

Physical therapy for shoulder pain is progressive. The treatment considers the severity of your pain and how comfortable you are with the types of treatment. As you progress, your physical therapist will take note and adjust your treatment accordingly.


Shoulder pain can affect your daily activities and cause huge discomfort. You should see your doctor if you experience persistent pain, a popping sound in your shoulder, and muscle weakness. Your physical therapist at Summit Physical Therapy will assess your symptoms, diagnose the underlying cause of your pain, and recommend a suitable treatment plan.

Summit Physical Therapy