By Mai Vu, Physical Therapist
Shoulder pain is one of the most common complaints that we see in our office. Some common causes of shoulder pain are:
Tendonitis – This occurs when inflammation is present in tendons. Tendons are the structures that connect muscles to bones.
Bursitis – This occurs when inflammation is present in a bursa. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that helps to decrease friction when the body moves.
Tears – Tears can occur as a result of trauma such as a fall, or they can occur slowly over time. Tears can range from a microscopic level to a complete tear where the muscle or ligament is no longer attached.
Radiculopathy – This occurs when there is a problem with the nerves from the spine. The nerves from the neck travel across the shoulder and down the arm. When there is a problem in the spine, pain can be felt along the path of the nerves.
When there is shoulder pain there are many structures that may be involved, including:
- Rotator Cuff which is comprised of 4 different muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis)
- Long head of the Biceps Tendon Subacromial Bursa Acromioclavicular Joint – this is where the clavicle (collar bone) meets the scapula (shoulder blade)
- Glenohumeral Joint – this is where the scapula (shoulder blade) meets the humerus (upper arm bone)
- Labrum – this is part of the glenohumeral joint
- The muscles, bones, and nerves from the neck (cervical spine)
- The muscles, bones, and nerves from the trunk (thoracic spine)
We will cover some of these topics in more detail in later posts.