Common shoulder pain and injuries are frequently caused by athletic activities involving excessive repetitive overhead motion. They can be the result of constant weightlifting and everyday movement, such as hanging up curtains and scratching your back. Most shoulder injuries involve the muscles, ligaments and tendons, rather than the bones.

The following are common problems associated with shoulder pain and injury:

Tendon inflammation or tendon tears – This includes bursitis, tendinitis, rotator cuff tears and impingement.

InstabilityInstability occurs when the head of the upper arm bone is forced out of the shoulder socket. This can result from a sudden injury or from overuse.

Arthritis – The most common type of arthritis in the shoulder is osteoarthritis.

Fracture (broken bone) – Fractures commonly affect the collarbone, upper arm bone, and shoulder blade.

Other less common causes of shoulder pain are tumors, infections, and nerve-related problems.

Shoulder Exercises

Exercising your shoulders will help strengthen your muscles to help prevent further injury. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends these three exercises:

Basic shoulder strengthening
Attach elastic tubing to a doorknob. Gently pull the elastic tubing toward your body. Hold for a count of five. Repeat five times with each arm. Perform twice a day.

Wall push-ups
Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly perform a push-up. Repeat five times. Hold for a count of five. Perform twice a day.

Shoulder press-ups
Sit upright in a chair with armrest, with your feet touching the floor. Use your arms to slowly rise off the chair. Hold for a count of five. Repeat five times. Perform twice a day.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain, contact an orthopedic shoulder specialist to determine the cause and receive an individual treatment plan.

Kelsey Koziel is a Marketing Communications and Relations Specialist at Illinois Bone & Joint Institute.


Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative arthritis, is a gradual breakdown of cartilage in the joints.