Ever fallen into a WebMD sinkhole trying to find the cause of your mysterious pain? We all have, and we usually conclude that it's fatal. Take a breath though, because with shoulder pain, the problem is rarely serious.
Still, it's helpful to know what you're dealing with. Shoulder pain is a common problem. According to Dr. Clifford Stark, the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body. This means it's at a higher risk of injury, so if your shoulders hurt, you're not alone.
To give you a clue about your specific pain, our pros have listed the most common shoulder problems.
4 Most Common Reasons Your Shoulders Hurt
If you have shoulder pain, there's a good chance it's one of these four culprits:
The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that lets your muscles and bones glide with less friction. You have a bursa in the joints throughout your body, not just your shoulders.
When you overuse your shoulder, your body sends extra fluid to your shoulder's bursa. This fluid swells and inflames the bursa, causing a condition called bursitis.
Here's a fun medical term tip: "itis" usually means "inflammation." That means tendinitis is inflammation of the tendons.
Your shoulder has a group of tendons, muscles, and other tissues called the rotator cuff. These tissues stabilize the bones of your shoulder.
But rotator cuffs injuries are common causes of shoulder pain, including tendinitis. The inflammation comes from overuse, so a little rest goes a long way.
Tendinitis can either be acute (sudden and severe) or chronic (slowly developing over time). Either way, the pain can be intense, so resting your shoulder should come naturally.
Shoulder Tendon Tears
Another common injury to the tendons of the rotator cuff is a tear. As you might expect, a tear is more severe than tendinitis. But like tendinitis, it usually happens from overuse.
Tendon tears can be partial or complete. As long as you give your body what it needs, you can heal from a partial tear. A complete tear, though, is more likely to require surgery.
The physical stress of excessive or improper exercise can lead to the injuries above. But emotional stress can make your shoulders hurt too.
Our bodies have a natural process called the stress response. When you're under stress, your body releases adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones. Along with an energy surgery, this tenses your muscles.
The stress response is a vital evolutionary design because it helped our ancestors run from predators. But when you're under chronic stress, it can cause long-term shoulder pain, neck pain, etc.
What to Do About Your Shoulder Pain
Depending on the cause of your shoulder pain, there are a few go-to treatments. The three injuries above are healed with rest, ice and/or heat, and mild pain relievers.
When it comes to stress, the obvious solution is to find ways to de-stress your life. As an added boost, massagers can relieve the tension in tight muscles.
If you have shoulder pain, it's always best to see a doctor for a diagnosis and medical recommendation. And for tense muscles, shop for massagers that can help your shoulders relax.