Why does shoulder hurt?

Why does shoulder hurt? Tips to relieve shoulder pain

Why does shoulder hurt? Does your shoulder hurt and are you worried about what’s causing the pain?

We know it can be scary not knowing why your shoulder hurts or if it’s a cause for concern.

Usually, you can be sure that nothing too serious is going on.

We talk to hundreds of patients who come to us with pain in different parts of the shoulder.

We’ve put together this blog to explain 3 spots on your shoulder where you may feel pain, the cause of your pain and 5 solutions to help relieve stiff, sore shoulders.

Why does shoulder hurt?

We usually treat shoulder pain in the following three areas.

Pain at the top of the shoulder

The first area of your shoulder that may be experiencing pain is the top of your shoulder. This is called the AC joint where the collarbone and the top of the shoulder meet. This joint is held together by strong ligaments.

The top of your shoulder may start to hurt because of a direct injury. For example, if you bump your shoulder against an object or fall on it.

Other reasons may be general wear and tear due to age or repetitive activity. If you lift heavy objects or exercise your arms a lot, the joint can become swollen and painful to move and restrict movement.

Pain in the shoulder blade

Sometimes patients describe shoulder blade pain as a dull ache, a shooting pain in the part of the back between the shoulder blades, or a hard knot under one of the shoulder blades.

This type of shoulder pain is usually related to muscle tension caused by exercise or heavy lifting, sleeping in an awkward posture, or poor posture.

Rotator cuff pain

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint and hold the upper arm in place while allowing a full range of motion in the shoulder.

Also, the rotator cuff can tear for two main reasons.

The first is an acute tear that occurs when falling on an outstretched arm or lifting something heavy with a sudden movement.
The second is related to wear and tear that occurs with age. A common problem in people over the age of 40, where the rotator cuff tendons wear out over time due to overuse. It is most likely to develop in your dominant arm.

Tips for relieving shoulder pain

Relieve shoulder pain naturally.

Try to pause physical activity, to give your shoulder pain time to heal, one should take a break from any strenuous physical activity for a couple of days.

This will not only relieve your shoulder pain, but it will also prevent you from further injury.

Once you’ve rested for a while, you should reintroduce movement slowly, which means easing back into exercise and avoiding heavy lifting.

If you don’t improve with rest and it’s still causing you problems after a week, it’s likely to be a more serious injury that requires specialist help.

Ice or heat therapy

Ice or heat therapy can help if you have immediate pain and offer an alternative to the strong painkillers that many people want to avoid.

Place ice on your painful area for 20 minutes and this will create a numbing effect against the pain.

It is important to use heat therapy in bursts of up to 20 minutes on the sore shoulder area.

You should also use one of these therapies every 2 hours and also use a layer between the ice/heat and the area to protect the skin from burning.

You can try these different therapies and find out which one suits you best.


Pain in the shoulder blades can often feel like a tight knot if you’ve pulled a muscle.

Massage is a fantastic natural way to relieve pain, loosen stiffness and allow the muscles to relax so you can move more freely and pain-free.

A different sleeping position

One of the worst times is at bedtime. Sleeping positions can sometimes make shoulder pain worse or even allow it to develop.

A side sleeping position you can try to relieve shoulder pain is to lie on the shoulder that doesn’t hurt while pointing your sore shoulder toward the ceiling. Take a pillow and place it in the armpit of the injured shoulder. This will raise the injured shoulder slightly, relieving pressure on the rotator cuff and allowing you to sleep much better.

If your shoulder blades hurt, a good sleeping position is to lie on your back with a small pillow between your shoulder blades. Shoulder pain usually appears in the morning because our body is lying down too much during the night.

With physical therapy, you can relieve shoulder pain in the long run. If your shoulder pain is getting worse and you’re worried about losing motion or having to get painful injections, physical therapy may be the natural solution you’ve been looking for.

Now, do you know why does shoulder hurt?

If you have more questions, I encourage you to come to our Nordicfysio clinic in Punta Prima or contact us and we will see what the cause is and how we can solve it.

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