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Shoulder and Arm Pain

Madhurjya Bhattacharyya Apr 20, 2019
It is found that shoulder and arm pain is a common problem faced by many people. There can be several causes of pain in the shoulder and arm. Here, we discuss some of the causes and symptoms of this condition.
Being the most volatile joint of the body, the shoulders are the most unstable, as there are a number of motions performed by the joints of the shoulder and arm. It can be easily injured as the ball of the upper arm is comparatively larger than the sockets which hold it. It's the ligaments, tendons, and muscles which are responsible for anchoring the joints.
Most of the problems, especially severe shoulder and arm pain is caused if there is a disruption of these tissues due to injury, under use or overuse of the shoulders. There are other problems which occur due to degeneration, wherein the tendons and tissues break down and so they are no longer able to perform well.


One of the most common, severe shoulder pain causes is dislocation of the joint. Typically in a dislocated shoulder, there is a sudden impact which forces the ball of the joint to move outwards. Whenever there is a dislocation, the condition is called shoulder instability.
Separated shoulder is another cause of shoulder and arm pain, wherein the collarbone and the shoulder blade comes in contact with each other. The ligaments holding these body parts together are torn completely or partially.
This results in pain, as the clavicle may slip, thereby causing a fracture. Usually such a condition happens due to a blow to the shoulders when a person falls with an outstretched hand.
Impingement syndrome, bursitis and tendinitis also cause pain. They are closely related and may occur in combination or alone. In impingement syndrome the tendons in rotator cuff muscles get inflamed and irritated if they are squeezed between the acromion, outermost point of spine and shoulder blade, and humerus, the bone extending from shoulder to elbow.
In tendinitis, there is inflammation of the biceps or rotator cuff, due to pinching by surrounding muscles. The other causes of this condition includes arthritis and fracture of bones. In arthritis torn cartilage is the main cause of pain. On the other hand a fracture means a crack in the bone, which is due to a sudden impact.

Arm and Shoulder Pain in Women

Not only in women but also in men, shoulder and arm pain may indicate risk of heart attack. If so, the pain would not be as profound as with other causes, but there would be a tingling pain in shoulder and arm. Pain in the blades due to heart attack is more common in women. If that's the case, you must seek medical help at once, or else it may be fatal.

Arm and Shoulder Pain While Sleeping

Many a time you may find that there is shoulder and arm pain at night when you are asleep. This is mainly caused if you sleep with your arms under your head in a sidewards position, and the main reason for this is that the nerves in this region gets pressed. There are several causes of pinched nerves, which may lead to pain.
So there may be several reasons for shoulder and arm pain which you need to look out for. It's always better to consult a doctor immediately as there may be other underlying conditions which may cause pain, which if not taken care of may aggravate the situation.


If the condition is mild, one can cure the problem, by following some simple exercises. However, if the damage is worse, spine surgery might be required. For proper diagnosis, one should seek prompt advice from a doctor so that any complications are avoided.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.