The shoulder joint is the most flexible joint in humans. His great mobility comes about through the relatively small bony articular surfaces. The movements in the shoulder joint are therefore not limited by bony structures, as is the case with some other joints, for example in the hip joint. In order to nevertheless achieve a certain stability of the joint, the shoulder surrounds the so-called rotator cuff. It consists of four different muscles that wrap around the joint like a cuff, stabilizing and protecting it in its position. Functional problems therefore often affect the muscles of the rotator cuff.
Shoulder pain can occur at any age and there are a variety of causes for it. The shoulder pain can be acute and occur, for example, during exercise or after lifting a heavy load. Often these are also chronic complaints (eg due to joint wear).
Shoulder pain is usually very debilitating and severely limits the daily lives of those affected, but they can often be treated well by consistent and long-term physiotherapy for muscle strengthening. Only in a few cases is surgery for shoulder pain unavoidable. As a rule, the pain comes from the soft tissues of the shoulder joint, which means that muscles, tendons, bursa, capsule and synovial fluid are affected. Also, diseases of the cervical spine can lead to severe pain in the shoulder, usually radiate the pain then even in the arm or in the hand.
Shoulder pain often affects the mobility of the arm, many everyday activities are difficult to carry out. In order to be able to make the correct diagnosis, in addition to information about the medical history (anamnesis) and the physical examination also often imaging techniques such as ultrasound, X-ray, magnetic resonance (MRI) or computed tomography are required. The therapy of shoulder pain is aimed specifically at the cause of the discomfort and presents many possibilities of drug treatment over physiotherapeutic exercises to surgical interventions.
Anterior shoulder pain is a pain that is primarily (but not always exclusively) focused on the anterior part of the shoulder joint. These include pain in the anterior rotator cuff, biceps tendon, ACL joint and clavicle.
Anterior shoulder joint pain may be caused by direct damage to the anatomical structures involved or may arise as transmitted pain from damage in an anatomically distant location that is causally not a disease of the shoulder joint.
Diseases of shoulder pain
Shoulder pain can be triggered by a variety of diseases. Probably the most common cause of shoulder pain in the shoulder are tensions and hardening of the shoulder and neck muscles. Through stress and a wrong posture (eg by sitting too long), the shoulder, the back and the neck are heavily stressed, which can lead to painful tension. Usually due to trauma, but also due to unfavorable or abrupt movements with an unheated shoulder, the joint capsule may crack, adhere and shrink in the area of the soft tissue, resulting in shoulder pain.
In addition, the muscles or tendons of the rotator cuff may be ruptured (rotator cuff tear), which often severely limits mobility of the arm. A painful inflammation of the shoulder joint (periarthritis humeroscapularis) is caused by a lack of exercise and, in extreme cases, can lead to shoulder stiffness (capsulitis adhaesiva) or the so-called frozen shoulder. Other disorders that cause shoulder pain include tendinitis or bursitis (subacromial bursitis). Such inflammations are mainly caused by infections, mechanical overload, rheumatic diseases and gout.
Joint wear (osteoarthritis) can be another cause of shoulder pain. The shoulder joint arthrosis is caused by chronic overloading (eg through years of strength training), imbalances in the muscles, articular narrowing in old age, circulatory disorders or rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. In occupations or leisure activities that are performed above the head (eg painters, handball or tennis players), painful shoulder wear is particularly common. The impairment of movements in the shoulder, it comes to painful inflammation and swelling.
In the so-called impingement syndrome (constriction syndrome), there is a constriction between the shoulder roof and the humerus. There is a tendon that is exposed to a constant state of irritation, causing inflammation. Also diseases of the spine can cause shoulder pain. Under certain circumstances, nerve inflammation or injury, but also rheumatological diseases or medical disorders (eg heart attack, lung tumors, biliary colic) with the symptom shoulder pain can be noticeable. If the shoulder pain occurs especially at night, a so-called calcarous shoulder (Tendinosis calcarea) can be behind it. In the process, calcium crystals are deposited in the rotator tendon due to recurrent minor tendon injuries or local circulatory disorders of the tendon.
Injuries, accidents and fractures can also lead to severe pain in the shoulder area. The fractured collarbone (clavicular fracture) or injuries to the humerus (eg humeral head fracture) are common. Also a dislocation of the shoulder joint (shoulder gel luxation) can cause strong pain and have different causes (eg trauma, unstable shoulder).
In no case does the "self" diagnostic replace a visit to your doctor of trust! On our part, there is no claim to completeness of the illustrated differential diagnoses (alternative causes). We assume no liability for the accuracy of the self-diagnosis that you have created! Any form of self-therapy without consultation with your doctor, we strictly reject!
Using our "self" diagnostic tool is easy. Follow the respective link provided where the location and description of the symptoms best suits your condition. Pay attention to where the pain from the shoulder joint is greatest.