What are the common causes of shoulder pain?

What are the common causes of shoulder pain?

Modern-day lifestyle, and underlying health conditions or injuries could lead to recurring shoulder pain— a condition that can disrupt your normal life in so many ways.

Shoulder pain could be because of a variety of reasons, and depending on the exact reason, it can be treated through self-healing, medical intervention and/or doctor’s guidance. Addressing the issue at the very initial state is important to avoid any long-lasting damages.

In this guide, we are listing the most common causes of shoulder pain. While some of them are benign and could be cured through self-care, several others would require professional intervention and medication, alongside rest and compression to get fully treated.


Shoulder pain due to breakage, dislocation, and injury


Dislocated shoulder: When the upper arm bone gets removed from the cup-shaped socket which is part of the shoulder blade due to shock or injury.

Broken arm: When one or more of the 3 bones in your arm — ulna, radius and humerus— get broken due to shock or injury.


Broken collarbone: When the bone that connects the upper part of your breastbone to your shoulder blade gets broken.

Torn cartilage: When the connective tissue that protects our joints and bones gets torn.

Tendon rupture: When the fibrous connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone gets torn.

Sprains: Stretching or tearing of ligaments, the bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together in joints.

Brachial plexus injury: When the nerves that send signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm and hand get stretched, compressed or torn away from the spinal cord.

Rotator cuff injury: Partial or complete tearing of rotator cuff, is a group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder that enables lifting and moving the arms away from the body.


Underlying conditions


Bursitis: A condition when bursae that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near joints becomes inflamed.

Cervical radiculopathy: Nerve press due to herniated disk material or arthritic bone spurs, resulting in neck and shoulder pain.

Frozen shoulder: When the capsule of connective tissue thickens and tightens around the shoulder joint.

Heart attack: Heart attacks can cause shoulder pain with a fever, swelling, or redness.

Impingement: Rubbing of the rotator cuff between humerus and top outer edge of the shoulder.


Osteonecrosis: The death of bone tissue due to limited blood flow.


Osteoarthritis: A disease causing the breakdown of joints


Polymyalgia rheumatica: an inflammatory disorder resulting in muscle pain and stiffness, especially in the shoulders and hips.


Rheumatoid arthritis: A chronic disorder that can affect joints, skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels.


Septic arthritis: A joint infection caused by germs that travel through the bloodstream from another part of the body.


Tendinitis: Inflammation or irritation of the thick fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone.

Thoracic outlet syndrome: A group of disorders caused by compression, injury or irritation of the nerves and/or blood vessels in the lower neck and upper chest.