Common Causes of Shoulder Pain and How to Avoid Them

Posted on May 30, 2018

The shoulder is the human body’s most complex joint, a nexus of bone, muscle, ligaments, tendon, and tissue. Not surprisingly, the shoulder plays a huge role in our ability to function. Also not surprising is that the shoulder is susceptible to a variety of different injuries and ailments. As a leading chiropractor in Charlotte, Active Life Chiropractic has considerable experience with shoulder pain treatment.

Here are some common causes of shoulder pain, and how to avoid them.

Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder occurs when a buildup of extra tissue prevents the shoulder joint from rotating fully. Pain and stiffness are common symptoms. You can avoid frozen shoulder by stretching daily and receiving regular chiropractic adjustment.

Inflamed rotator cuff

More commonly known as tendonitis, an inflammation of the rotator cuff has several causes, ranging from sleeping on your shoulder and over-exercising to general overuse, i.e. on the job. The pain scale for an inflamed rotator cuff is broad, ranging from mild, self-treatable cases (with an ice pack) to severe pain requiring physical therapy and/or surgery. Avoiding tendonitis by adjusting your workout regimen, taking breaks after heavy lifting, and changing your sleeping position.


The word “bursitis” derives from “bursae”, which are sacs in your joints that facilitate smooth, pain-free movement. Inflammation of these sacs is termed bursitis, a condition that causes slight pain and restricts shoulder movement. Depending on your age and activity rate, you may only require rest and a change in daily routine (especially regarding any weights/heavy lifting) to remove the pain. However, shoulder pain relief for this type of injury is also available via a chiropractor.


Osteoarthritis is one of the most common age-related diseases. As we age and our shoulders endure years of wear and tear, the cartilage in the shoulder area suffers. Osteoarthritis is the result of the cartilage tearing near the shoulder joints. Not everyone gets osteoarthritis; much of it has to do with habit, chance, and genetics. A shoulder injury incurred at some point in one’s life increases the possibility of osteoarthritis. Avoiding it may be difficult, since the disease is in large part a product of the aging process. However, you can increase your chances of avoidance by getting more rest as you age, and cutting back your exercise/weightlifting routine.


Fibromyalgia is one of those words that most people have heard, yet few outside of the medical and chiropractic community can adequately define it. Think of it this way: the body has 18 trigger points, one of which is in the shoulder. When this particular trigger point is exposed to excessive pressure, fibromyalgia can occur. The “pain scale” is wide-ranging here, varying from mild, self-diagnosable stiffness to severe pain that may necessitate a visit to a chiropractor and/or general practitioner.

Tendon sheath inflammation

When the shoulder’s synovium (aka muscle tissue) isn’t producing enough lubricant, the result is tendon sheath inflammation. This type of shoulder pain is directly attributable to sustained, improper lifting of boxes, weights, and everyday objects. Eventually, this repeated awkward motion can lead to inflammation. The best defense against tendon sheath inflammation is to lift with a normal, repeated motion, and to use the legs more than the shoulders and back.

If you’re suffering from shoulder pain, contact our Charlotte chiropractor and make an appointment today.