The shoulder is made of complex bones and joints linked by ligaments, tendons and muscles to the chest bone (sternum), neck (cervical spine) and chest (thorax).
Pain can be due to an injury, can be due mechanical problems (such as subacromial impingement or instability), inflammation (such as arthritis, bursitis), wear and tear (such as rotator cuff tears) or linked to the nerves.
Assessment of shoulder pain depends largely on a careful history and physical examination and special imaging such as x-rays, ultrasound, CT or MRI scans may be required to give the diagnosis.
In most cases there are features that can suggest the likely problem. The following covers some of the more common sources of shoulder pain:
Usually the cause can be easily identified and treated, and in some cases this may require physiotherapy, injections or surgery. Occasionally no structural or pathological problem can be identified and therefore pain management is important to relieve symptoms and maintain function.
The different conditions will be explained to you by your shoulder doctor / specialist