Shoulder Pain: Common Causes And Treatments

Your shoulder is a joint used for many activities. Try doing almost anything without moving your shoulder — getting in or out of your car, driving the car, doing chores, or even eating dinner. That’s why we should all learn about shoulder pain: common causes and treatments.

Woman holding her shoulder in pain

Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

When the tendons in your shoulder get trapped under the boney area of your shoulder, they can become inflamed or even damaged. The pain will occur in the front and back of your shoulder. This type of inflammation will occur with activities using your arms over your head like playing tennis, doing yoga, or even painting a room in your house.

Ice, rest and NSAIDS are the best treatments.

Rotator Cuff Bursitis

Small sacs of fluid in your shoulder provide lubrication and easy movement. If they become inflamed due to overuse, swelling and pain will be the result. Try a similar treatment as rotator cuff tendonitis. If that does not relieve your pain, make an appointment with Dr. Camille Clinton in Kirkland, WA.

A Rotator Cuff Tear

If you experience a lot of pain at night while trying to sleep, this could be a rotator cuff tear. It could be a partial or full tear in one of the ligaments connected to your arm. It can happen slowly over time or suddenly with a fall.

Best treatment is rest, ice, and over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Sometimes Dr. Camille Clinton will prescribe physical therapy.

Frozen Shoulder

This occurs when abnormal bands of tissue build up and make it difficult to move your shoulder. The shoulder can “freeze” from the pain and lack of movement. The less it is used, the worse the adhesion or abnormal tissue grows.

It can be caused by an injury, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease. The best treatments are exercises and stretches that emphasize range of motion.

Significant Injuries

A Fracture

If you fall or are hit hard, one of your bones can crack or break. The most common break is to the collarbone or arm bone. The result is severe pain, the inability to lift your arm, and your shoulder can sag.


This happens if your shoulder is pulled back too much or rotated too far. Swelling, numbness and bruising will result.

Both of these injuries need immediate medical care.

When To See Dr. Camille Clinton With Shoulder Pain

The following situations are clear signs that you need the care of a specialist.

  • Pain, swelling, or bruising
  • Pain that does not allow you to sleep
  • Sudden sharp pain
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Chronic pain that keeps getting worse
  • No relief after treatment with ice, rest and over-the-counter meds

Schedule a Shoulder Pain Treatment Consultation

Contact Dr. Camille Clinton at (425) 899-4810 if your shoulder pain is not relieved with typical treatments and medications.

Request Appointment




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