Shoulder pain can be debilitating and prevent you from doing the activities you enjoy. Whether it’s a sharp, stabbing pain when lifting your arm or a dull ache that lingers for days, shoulder stiffness and discomfort can affect your quality of life.
Understanding the causes of shoulder pain when lifting your arm is essential in determining how best to treat it. It is often why people spend years struggling with shoulder issues (because they don’t address the underlying causes).
In this blog post, you will discover common causes of shoulder pain including muscle strains, rotator cuff tears, and arthritis as well as find tips for relieving shoulder pain without medication so you can get back to working out, playing sports, and enjoying an active life.
Common Causes of Shoulder Pain when Lifting Your Arm
A variety of conditions, including muscle strains, rotator cuff tears, and arthritis can cause shoulder pain. The shoulder is a complex joint made up of many small bones and muscles, so it can be susceptible to lots of different injuries and conditions. Especially when we are pushing our bodies in sports, the gym, and a busy schedule.
At Kinetic Chain Denver, we treat shoulder pain on a daily basis and have seen a huge range of shoulder issues, but thankfully, natural pain relief is often achievable quickly with the right treatment.
Shoulder Muscle Strains
Muscle strains occur when your shoulder muscles and tendons are overworked or injured, causing pain and discomfort. This might happen when lifting weights, playing sports, or during activities of daily living. If you have a muscle strain, your shoulder might feel stiff and tender to the touch.
Rotator Cuff Tears
A rotator cuff tear is a common cause of shoulder pain, especially in athletes and people over the age of 50. The rotator cuff muscles are responsible for keeping your shoulder in place, so if they become injured, they can cause stability issues and shoulder pain.
A rotator cuff tear can be painful, especially when you move your shoulder in certain directions like reaching above head height, or reaching behind you (to get something from the back seat when sitting in the car). Rotator cuff tears can strike at any time, some due to wear and tear over time, and others due to sudden injuries like tears in the tendon or ligaments.
Arthritis In Your Shoulder
Arthritis is a chronic condition that affects the joints of your body, including your shoulders. This can cause stiffness, swelling, and pain when lifting your arm, which means arthritis sufferers often feel like they have to stop doing the things they love. We understand that you may have been told that you’ve just got to live with it, or that nothing can be done, and how frustrating it can be.
Arthritis usually affects people over the age of 50, but it can also affect younger people due to genetic factors or injuries, so don’t dismiss the chance your shoulder pain is caused by Arthritis without seeking a professional medical diagnosis.
Tips for Relieving Shoulder Pain Without Medication
If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, there are a few things you can do at home to help find relief without relying on painkillers.
Heat Therapy For Shoulder Pain Relief
If you have chronic pain caused by arthritis, fibromyalgia, or joint and muscle soreness in your shoulder, a natural way to relieve pain in the short term is to use heat therapy. Applying heat, using a hot water bottle or pad, can help soothe tight muscles, reduce pain, and help restore pain-free movement.
Ice Therapy To Recover From Shoulder Injuries
If you have a pulled muscle, strain, or sprain, applying cold using an icepack or an instant cold pack can help reduce inflammation and swelling. When you first feel shoulder pain, applying cold for 20 minutes at a time can help reduce the severity and make it easier to move the shoulder.
Cold showers or baths can also be a great way to control inflammation in the shoulder and other areas of your body.
Long-Term Relief From Shoulder Pain When Raising Your Arm
The two methods above are proven, drug-free ways to relieve shoulder pain, and for some people, this may be enough to ease soreness until the shoulder has recovered.
However, if your shoulder pain is a bigger issue, or it’s caused by an underlying problem elsewhere in the body, it will often keep coming back – and in most cases, get worse over time.
If you’ve had shoulder pain before, and it’s back, the chances are that it’s going to keep coming back. And with each bout of shoulder pain, it gets more painful, stiffer, and has a bigger impact on your life.
Physical therapy can stop this, and end your shoulder pain without medication, injections, or surgery. Using a combination of massage, posture and movement assessment, specific stretches and exercise programs, physical therapists can help reduce shoulder pain when raising your arm and improve the quality of your life.
At the root of shoulder pain is often a combination of muscle tightness, underlying muscle weakness, poor posture, and movement patterns, and sometimes a condition like a rotator cuff tear or arthritis. That’s why people very rarely cure their shoulder pain by themselves.
Unsure If You’re Shoulder Pain Is Normal? Download our free shoulder pain report which gives you 13 ways to tell if your shoulder pain is normal.
To find out how physical therapy can give you shoulder pain relief fast, arrange a Free Shoulder Pain Assessment where you can speak to a member of our expert physical therapy team, and discover the most effective treatment options available to you.
You can also arrange a Free Telephone Consultation or call us on (720) 651-0674 if you prefer to speak to a member of the team from the comfort of your own home.
Other Free Resources To Help You Recover From Injuries Quicker
Download your Free Shoulder Pain Report and discover How To Use Sleep To Help With Your Injuries And Recovery
Grab A Copy Of Our Founder’s Book For Free – Just pay postage! – Adding Insight To Injury – The Ultimate Injury Recovery Guide To Help You Reclaim The Life You Love
Read Our Blog – What You Need To Know About Shoulder Injuries In Crossfit