The shoulder consists of multiple joints, along with muscles and tendons, which allow your arm to move freely. Considered the most mobile joint in the body, the shoulder gets its large range of motion from its bony architecture. The rotator cuff is the most commonly injured structure in the shoulder because its function is to control and stabilize motion at the joint surfaces throughout the many different positions the shoulder can achieve. Any injury to the rotator cuff can cause pain when trying to move your arm around or lift your arm above your head. Pain at night, particularly when rolling onto the affected shoulder, is a hallmark of rotator cuff pathology.
Shoulder injuries can occur from a large variety of activities, such as manual labor, sports, and even simple repetitive movement. Diseases of the neck, liver, heart, lungs, or gallbladder can also be disguised as pain in the shoulder. While surgery is sometimes required to treat certain conditions of the shoulder, physical therapy can be a highly effective way to treat shoulder pain.
Possible reasons for shoulder pain:
- Tendon tear in the shoulder
- Tendon inflammation / degeneration in the shoulder
- Instability in the shoulder
- Fracture or broken bone
- Frozen shoulder
- Labral tear
- Shoulder dislocation