These muscles are attached to the shoulder bones by tendons, which are cushioned by anti-friction sacs called bursae. The bone ends are lined with cartilage to keep them from rubbing together. As you might suspect, these many parts offer many opportunities for damage or dysfunction to occur — with shoulder pain as the result. Common causes include:
Sports injuries – A violent tackle or other sports impact can dislocate the arm bone from the shoulder socket, which causes sudden, agonizing pain. Tearing of the rotator cuff muscles or tendons can also make even the slightest shoulder motion unthinkable. Many athletes also develop chronic inflammation of the shoulder muscles, bursae, or tendons due to repetitive motions such as countless tennis serves, golf swings or baseball pitches.
Overuse injuries – Sports activities aren’t the only path to chronic shoulder pain. Work activities, musical instrument playing, painting, or any other activities that overwork the shoulder can cause chronic tendonitis, muscle strain, and other kinds of inflammatory pain.
Auto accident injuries – Auto accidents can cause acute shoulder injuries. If you slam your shoulder into part of the cabin, for instance, you can dislocate your shoulder. Violent twisting motions beneath your safety harness can tear shoulder tissues.
Degenerative joint ailments – Degeneration of the shoulder joint can make your shoulder achy and stiff. The best-known example is osteoarthritis, in which the joint’s protective cartilage thins out and disintegrates.
Referred shoulder pain – Sometimes shoulder pain doesn’t actually mean shoulder damage. If a nerve root in your cervical spine is pinched, it may relay pain to the nerves that pass through the shoulder.
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