A painful shoulder be caused by many sources -- first of all, the shoulder joint itself may be injured, or you may suffer from arthritis or bursitis. This is a hot, burning pain within the joint that occurs with extending the arm upward or outward. See your doctor if you suspect these conditions.
Sometimes the pain originates, not in the shoulder, but from an injured nerve in the cervical or thoracic spine. In this case, you'll need an MRI of the neck and chest to rule out disc disease, and an examination of the brachial plexus to rule out a compression injury.
Falls can cause shoulder pain. Did you bump it recently? Roller derby is hell on shoulders.
Repetitive stress also can cause terrible shoulder pain (or pain in any joint.) Many years ago, I was working at a Macintosh computer every night, and I was experiencing terrible pains on the top of my right shoulder. However,
once I moved my keyboard and mouse below the desktop (to a tray), my shoulder pain faded. You also may need an adjustment to arm rests on your chair, and to the height of your monitor.
Young mothers often develop hip, shoulder, and elbow pain from carrying their toddler age children. Two year old children still need to be held, and in this busy world we don't always have time to walk slowly with them at the grocery, so we pick them up and carry them. Carrying a 30 pound 2 year-old on the same side can cause muscle pain from repetitive stress.
There are many other reasons why your should may hurt and you may have to play detective to figure it out. Many side sleepers wake up with shoulder pain.
If the pain gets worse and you can no longer lift your arm, something is causing serious and painful inflammation. See your doctor for an examination and a diagnosis.
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