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5 Common Causes of Chronic Shoulder Pain

5 Common Causes of Chronic Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can range from mild to intense. You may experience it while swinging a golf club, getting dressed in the morning, or putting away groceries. When shoulder pain prevents you from doing daily activities or interferes with work or play, it’s time to get it evaluated. 

At Silicon Valley Orthopaedics, with locations in Fremont, Menlo Park, and Los Gatos, California, George Thabit, III, MDNic Gay, MD, Masi Reynolds, DO, and April Mancuso, MD, treat people with shoulder pain. 

The shoulder joint is incredibly mobile, which makes it susceptible to injury. If you have shoulder pain, our expert team says it could be one of these five common causes. That said, if you are experiencing shoulder pain, you need a definitive diagnosis to create a successful treatment plan.

1. Rotator cuff injuries

The rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint, is often a prime source of persistent pain. Injuries to the rotator cuff often result from repetitive motions or sudden trauma. 

Overhead movements, such as those in sports like tennis or swimming, can strain these tendons, leading to inflammation and persistent discomfort.

2. Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

Have you noticed your shoulder feeling tighter and more restricted over time? Frozen shoulder may be the cause. Anywhere from 5-20% of the population will experience frozen shoulder at some point.

The condition results when the lining of the shoulder joint becomes inflamed and thickened, causing pain and stiffness. Daily activities, like reaching for a cup, can become challenging as your range of motion diminishes.

3. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease. It’s the breakdown of cartilage and other joint tissues, causing pain and stiffness around the shoulder and upper arm. Osteoarthritis can be caused by a prior joint injury, genetics, or general wear-and-tear of the joint.

As a result of osteoarthritis, you experience pain, swelling, and reduced mobility.

4. Bursitis

Bursae are tiny cushions that reduce friction between the tissues in your shoulder. Bursitis occurs when these cushions become irritated or inflamed. It's often accompanied by pain and swelling, especially when the affected area is moved.

5. Tendonitis

Tendonitis occurs when the tendons in the shoulder become inflamed due to overuse or trauma. You might experience shoulder tendonitis due to a sport like golf or softball (pitchers) or repetitive work tasks like painting. The condition often causes pain that increases with movement.

Chronic shoulder pain can turn daily activities into challenges. The good news is there are treatment options. We offer a diagnosis for your shoulder pain, start with conservative treatments, and provide more extensive care when necessary. 

Schedule at Silicon Valley Orthopaedics by calling or using this website. We're here to help you reclaim a pain-free and active life. 

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