Inflamed and Stiff: The Most Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

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Inflamed and Stiff: The Most Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

The body has several key areas designed to maximize mobility so that we can conquer everyday tasks, and one such part is the shoulder. Consisting of several joints combined with muscles and tendons, this section of the body allows for a wide range of motion in our arms. So whether you’re doing the dishes or playing catch in the backyard, your shoulders are hard at work to make these things possible.

When you experience sudden shoulder discomfort, it can be difficult to live life to the fullest. In these cases, knowing some potential causes can go a long way in helping you receive a diagnosis and get treatment promptly. These are some of the most common causes of shoulder pain.


If you’re experiencing increasing pain or stiffness in your shoulders, one of the potential causes could be arthritis. Known formally as osteoarthritis, arthritis in the shoulder blade involves the swelling and stiffening of your ligaments. This occurs as a result of significant cartilage wear and tear over the years. The condition itself develops slowly, worsening as more time passes. Physical therapy can treat this ailment, as exercise can help extend the range of motion and soothe areas with chronic pain.


Tendonitis is also a common condition that develops in the shoulder areas. Unlike arthritis, which occurs in the joints, this ailment affects the tendons directly. When the tendons become inflamed or irritated from a rotator cuff injury or excessive strain in the arm, you can experience a radiating pain that affects aspects of your everyday life. Tendonitis can extend from the shoulder down into the wrist and hand, making it difficult to lift things and grip them. Fortunately, embracing ergonomics at your home work desk or office workspace can help keep this condition at bay. You should also think about bettering ergonomics in any other areas of your life that could cause excessive or prolonged strain.


Another one of the most common causes of shoulder pain is a sprain in the general area. When the ligaments in your shoulder wrench or twist, you can get a minor injury that results in pain and subsequent swelling. Sprains heal relatively quickly, but they often limit your body’s range of motion and leave you feeling stiff for a bit after the fact. Still, if you think you’ve suffered a sprain, don’t extend your shoulder beyond its range, or you risk injuring it further.

Bone Spurs

Shoulders have the potential to develop bone spurs. Bone spurs are sharp growths that can form over the edge of a bone and dig into the tissues around it. This results in sharp pains and, depending on the severity, can evolve into a plethora of additional problems. Bone spurs require surgery to remove. Fortunately, the pain should subside with the healing of the surrounding muscles and tendons.

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