Causes of Shoulder Pain

by | Feb 28, 2012 | shoulder pain

Jennifer Cushing PT

Shoulder pain can begin suddenly after an accident such as a fall or sports injury, or can slowly start with no apparent cause. How the pain first started is the first clue to determining what is happening to your shoulder.

If the pain began suddenly there could be an injury to the muscle (strain), ligament (sprain), or joint capsule. The extent of the injury will determine how long your recovery will take. If pain began slowly you could have a tendonitis (irritation to a tendon), impingement (pinching of a tendon), or joint problem such as arthritis. (A tendon is a dense continuation of a muscle that connects the muscle to a bone). Pinching or impingement can result from poor posture and repetitive work.

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. The socket is very shallow so the bone is held in place by a number of muscles and a capsule.

The muscles closest to the joint make up the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is made of the following:

  • Subscapularis
  • Supraspinatus
  • Infraspinatus
  • Teres minor

Other muscles surrounding the shoulder include the deltoid, Pectoral muscles, Teres major, Latissimus dorsi, Coracobrachialis, and Biceps


Your physiotherapist will provide treatment that is geared to your individual needs. Treatment may include stretching, strengthening, range of motion exercises and pain control strategies.


Correct Postural alignment is important for preventing excess stress and strain on the joints and muscles of our bodies. Our bodies are designed so that when we are standing with correct posture there is an even loading of all the tissues of the body. Correct postural alignment means when looking at the body from the side, the ear is in line with middle of the shoulder, the front of the elbow, the middle of the hip, and the front of the ankle.

Unnatural positioning leads to excess strain on the muscles, ligaments and joints. Over time this strain can cause some muscles to shorten and change the normal position and function of the joints.

Forward shoulders are often seen in patients with shoulder pain. This posture is usually accompanied by tight pectoral muscles and over stretched/ weak shoulder blade stabilizers. This posture can cause the bones of the shoulder joint to be compressed together causing pinching of the muscles of the rotator cuff and pain.

To see a therapist about your shoulder problem or to prevent postural shoulders problems from ocurring, call 905-849-4576

By Dana Clark

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