Shoulder pain is a common issue, especially among athletes and older individuals. Oftentimes, shoulder pain occurs after a sudden injury. However, it can also develop without an obvious cause.
There are several possible reasons for shoulder pain without an injury. Six of the most common include:
Bone spurs are bony over growths that develop on the joints, such as the shoulders. Injuries, degenerative joint conditions, and wear and tear can all contribute to bone spurs in the shoulder.
Unless bone spurs push on nerve endings or expand, they may not cause symptoms. However, bone spurs can cause shoulder pain, inflammation, and/or numbness.
Arthritis involves joint inflammation. There are many types of arthritis that can lead to shoulder pain, the most common of which include:
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition that occurs when the cartilage in the affected joint(s) breaks down over time.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that occurs when the immune system attacks healthy tissue, including joint tissue, leading to pain and inflammation.
Bursae are small sacs that are filled with fluid and prevent friction in your joints. Shoulder bursitis develops if the bursae in the shoulder become inflamed, leading to shoulder pain.
Frozen shoulder is a condition that occurs when the capsule encasing the shoulder tissues becomes thicker and tighter. This typically causes pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility in the shoulder joint.
Poor Shoulder Posture and Mechanics
Poor posture can alter the position of the shoulder blade, the position of the arm as it moves, and the amount of space that the shoulder has to move. Over time, poor posture can strain the shoulder joint, potentially leading to pain and discomfort.
Torn Rotator Cuff
A torn rotator cuff can occur as an acute injury or as the result of repeated overuse. This injury develops when the muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder tear away from the bone, leading to pain and reduced mobility in the shoulder.