When we hear, “My shoulder hurts right here, what could that be?” the answer is: any number of things. Pain in one spot can be coming from a bunch of different issues, but it’s safe to say it’s a problem with a bone/joint, muscle, or nerve. Here are many common diagnoses and corresponding common pain locations:
The Front of your Shoulder:
- Shoulder Dislocation
- Biceps Tendon
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Entrapment of the network of nerves that run down your arm
The Top of your Shoulder:
- Supraspinatus Tendinopathy (The most commonly torn Rotator Cuff Muscle)
- Separated Shoulder
- Subacromial Impingement
- SLAP Tear
The Back of your Shoulder:
- Radial Nerve Entrapment
- Axillary Nerve Entrapment
- Posterior Capsule tightness
- Infraspinatus or Teres Minor Tendinopathy or Tear
Any of these anatomical diagnoses alone don’t tell us how you move, or if the pain is truly coming from those structures. The one thing all these problems have in common is that they often occur from faulty movement patterns such as:
- A poorly moving shoulder blade – it is very common in people with shoulder pain, and often our first focus of treatment.
- A faulty Scapular-Humeral Rhythm is another common problem. Proper rhythm of the shoulder blade and the upper arm requires coordination of 10+ muscles! The simple task of reaching above your head can be surprisingly difficult to do without a coordinated effort of all those muscles.
- Cervical Radiculopathy, or a nerve entrapment coming from the neck, may overshadow what we see by contributing to shoulder weakness and leading to faulty movement patterns.
Finding and treating the underlying movement dysfunction is key to finding relief from almost any shoulder condition. And that is just what we aim to do here at Alta.