The shoulder is by far the most mobile joint in the body. Shoulder pain is a common complaint, usually the result of overuse or injury. Persistent shoulder pain or decreased mobility of the shoulder should be evaluated to determine the cause of the problem. We almost always find that there is the involvement of the cervical spine with shoulder problems. This is because the nerves that supply the shoulder and the arms exit from the cervical spine.
The shoulder is also stabilized by four muscles. These four muscles make up the rotator cuff and include the subscapularis, teres minor, supraspinatus, and infraspinatus. Together, these muscles assist in stabilizing the shoulder joint as well as in performing various arm movements. These muscles must be balanced and working together for there to be pain-free, normal shoulder mobility. Injuries to the shoulder can cause these muscles to become unstable and then pull asymmetrically, causing pain, decreased range of motion, and inflammation. This can lead to a “Frozen Shoulder”.
Sometimes shoulder pain is due to a partial tear of the rotator cuff. Common causes of a rotator cuff tear are:
Trauma to the shoulder from a blow.
Falling on an outstretched arm.
Repetitive overhead motion of the arm and rotation of the joint.
Wear and tear of tendons over time.