What are the signs of shoulder problems?

Shoulder symptoms include, but are not limited to, pain, tenderness, swelling, and limited mobility or stiffness that may indicate problems with the underlying joint, muscles or tendons in the shoulder. The most common shoulder symptoms typically are pain, swelling, stiffness, or a reduction in shoulder mobility.

Shoulder Problems Spotlight

The shoulder has a greater range of motion than any other joint in the body. However, the anatomical composition of the shoulder that allows this range of motion also makes the shoulder more susceptible to injury or damage than many other joints in the body. Because of this, shoulder symptoms are among the more prevalent joint symptoms treated by doctors.

The parts of the shoulder commonly involved with shoulder symptoms include the humerus (upper arm bone), the scapula (shoulder blade), the clavicle (collarbone), the rotator cuff, and the tendons, muscles and ligaments that connect these structures.

Although anyone may develop shoulder symptoms, those who repetitively use their shoulders for overhead activities, such as sports, weight lifting, and certain types of work, and older people whose joints are affected by the normal aging process, are more susceptible. Generally, shoulder symptoms may be treated with adequate rest and the administration of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Acupuncture may give short term relief of shoulder pain. However, symptoms due to more severe underlying causes may need to be treated with physical therapy, steroid injections or surgery.

Some shoulder injuries may be serious, and shoulder symptoms accompanied by other symptoms may indicate serious or even life-threatening medical conditions. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you experience the sudden onset of pressure in your shoulder, feel a crushing pain in your shoulder, or have shoulder symptoms accompanied by a shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain or pressure, or sweating.

Seek prompt medical care if you suffer a severe injury to your shoulder; have redness, warmth, swelling or bruising on or around the shoulder; shoulder pain that persists longer than two weeks; difficulty moving your shoulder; shoulder symptoms accompanied by fever; or if the affected arm takes on a bluish or reddened color.


What other symptoms might occur with shoulder symptoms?

Shoulder symptoms may accompany other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying injury, disease, disorder or condition.

Common symptoms that may occur along with shoulder symptoms

Shoulder symptoms may include a variety of symptoms that may at times be severe including:


What causes shoulder symptoms?

Shoulder symptoms may be caused by a variety of injuries, diseases, or other underlying medical conditions, although the most common causes are overuse or strain. If you engage in activities that require repetitive overhead motion of your shoulder, such as swimming or painting, you are more likely to develop shoulder symptoms. Additionally, as you age, the tendons and ligaments that hold the sh... Read more about shoulder symptomscauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 30, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

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