Major Causes of Shoulder Pain:

Pain in the shoulder usually involves the soft tissues, ligaments, tendons and muscles. The bones of the shoulder can also be the source of pain. Painful shoulder conditions can be grouped into three categories:

  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis/bursitis
  • Rotator Cuff Disease
  • Neck Pain Referred (Radiculopathy)

Rarely, other causes of shoulder pain exist including nerve problems, tumors or infection.

Arthritis & Pain

Although arthritis takes on many forms, it most commonly involves wear and tear leading to changes in the architecture of the joint. Frequently, stiffness, swelling and pain are present. Sports injuries overuse syndromes and work injuries can worsen this condition leading to tightness, stiffness and restriction in range of motion.

Tendonitis & Pain

Tendons are fiber like cords which connect muscle to bone or muscle to other tissue. Tendonitis generally results from natural wear and tear which occurs over time. There are several types of tendonitis conditions:

  • Acute tendonitis associated with overuse such as tennis elbow, golfers elbow or occupational injury.
  • Chronic tendonitis occurring from degenerative arthritic disease or age related wear and tear
  • Traumatic tendonitis which result from sudden injury or degenerative changes (rotator cuff disease)


Swelling and inflammation of a bursa (fluid-filled sacs located around the joints which lessen the friction caused by movement) may lead to bursitis.

Click here to learn more about Bursitis

Rotator Cuff Disease

Rotator cuff disease is seen in association with bursitis of the shoulder. When the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bursa of the shoulder become inflamed and painful they may restrict the movement of the shoulder resulting in a “frozen shoulder.

Neck Pain Referred (radiculopathy)


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