Unraveling the Mystery: Main Causes of Shoulder Pain Revealed

September 20th, 2023
Shoulder pain relief in Milton, ON

Plus, how physiotherapy can help you find pain relief!

Do you struggle to reach overhead because the pain in your shoulder is too intense? Is it bad enough that you sometimes wake up in the middle of the night? Shoulder pain is common. The shoulder is a complex joint with a lot of moving parts, and an injury to even one ligament or tendon can have a reverberating effect throughout your entire shoulder and into your arm. But to find relief, you’ll need to pinpoint your shoulder pain to its causes.

That’s where the physiotherapists at MEX Physio came in. Our team has a deep understanding of the intricacies of the shoulder joint and the many ways it can be damaged. We’ll help you discover which part of your shoulder is hurt and then work to find a solution that addresses your pain–and maybe even eliminates it entirely!

Keep reading if you’d like to learn more about the different injuries and conditions that can lead to shoulder pain. Or, if you’re ready to start addressing your shoulder pain, call our Milton, ON physiotherapy clinic to make an appointment!

Understanding the Anatomy of the Shoulder

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The “ball” part of the joint is called the humerus and fits into the socket on the shoulder blade. Both pieces of the joint are wrapped in cartilage that provides support and comfort as you move through your range of motion.

But your shoulder is more than just bones and cartilage. The rotator cuff is a set of muscles/tendons that wrap around the joint, providing strength, stability, and mobility. The bursae are small fluid-filled sacs that cushion and protect your shoulder’s tendons. And the labrum is a particular type of cartilage that reinforces the shoulder’s socket.

The shoulder’s complexity is remarkable–it’s the reason a healthy shoulder has such an impressive range of motion! But that complexity also leaves the shoulder joint vulnerable to several types of injuries and impairments. If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, it could be a problem with your cartilage, rotator cuff, or bursae–and you won’t find relief until you know for sure.

The Most Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

Our team of physiotherapists can help you pinpoint the exact source of your shoulder pain. A lot can go wrong with such a complex joint, so it’s important to let us know as much as you can about your symptoms: What does the pain “feel” like? Where is it located? What mobility issues are you having?

This information allows us to better understand the source of your pain–and let you know what the specific cause might be. Here are some of the most common sources of shoulder pain and their accompanying symptoms:

  • Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy: This condition refers to any issues with the soft tissue of the rotator cuff, such as overstretching or inflammation. You may feel sudden pain when reaching overhead or pain that radiates down through your arm.
  • Rotator Cuff Tears: This condition occurs when one of the tendons in your rotator cuff tears completely, either due to an acute injury or degeneration in the tissue. You’ll notice pain, especially when lifting your arm or lying on the affected shoulder, along with shoulder weakness.
  • Shoulder Impingement: This condition occurs when the outer edge of your shoulder blade rings against (impinges upon) the shoulder’s tendons or bursa. You’ll feel pain in the top and outer side of your shoulder as well as when you lift your arm overhead.
  • Bursitis: This condition is an inflammation of the bursae. In addition to shoulder pain, especially when moving your arm, you may experience stiffness and swelling.
  • Frozen Shoulder: This condition occurs when thick tissue develops around the shoulder joint, causing severe pain and very limited shoulder mobility.

Physiotherapy alone can address some of these conditions. Others, such as a rotator cuff tear, may require surgery. At MEX Physio in Milton ON, we’re here for you in either circumstance. We can provide customized treatment plans or work with you on pre- and post-surgical physiotherapy programs.

How Physiotherapy Addresses Shoulder Pain and Its Causes

We offer several techniques to help resolve your shoulder pain or rehabilitate after shoulder surgery. Our team will work with you to determine which approaches will work best for you and your condition.

We can help you manage acute pain through manual therapy techniques and pain-relieving modalities, such as hot and cold therapy. But to fully resolve your pain, it’s important that you stretch and strengthen the soft tissue of the joint. We’ll provide you with a tailored exercise program to improve your shoulder’s strength and range of motion.

For most people, movement is the best way to address joint pain–even if it might cause pain itself. Fortunately, we’ll help alleviate discomfort as much as possible, and we’ll always start slow and gradually build the intensity of your exercises as you improve.

Solve the Mystery of Your Shoulder Pain Today!

If your shoulder pain is keeping up at night–or keeping you from reaching items on the top shelf–schedule an appointment at MEX Physio. We’ll find a solution that works for you!


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