top of page

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

Looking for Shoulder Pain Relief? Frustrated because you have youtubed shoulder exercises with no improvement? Not sure if the problem is due to poor posture, rotator cuff or neck injury? This article will guide you through the most common causes of shoulder weakness, shoulder stiffness and shoulder pain.

The ligaments of the shoulder joint and the surrounding rotator cuff tendons are the main structures within the shoulder area that causes shoulder pain. These structures could be injured when we use our shoulders during heavy lifting or pulling action. This could be while lifting a suitcase or falling onto the shoulder, elbow, or hand. However, a specific injury or accident is not the most common cause of shoulder pain. Overstretching the shoulder area due to positional stretches can be just as damaging.

Consequences of postural neglect

Unfortunately, many of us spend much of our work and free time in a slouched position with the shoulders rounded or holding our arms in raised arm postures. If you continue with these poor posture habits for long periods at a time and never correct your slouched posture you eventually lose the ability to bring the shoulders back into good alignment. When these poor postures are maintained long enough they cause overstretching of the structures in and around the shoulder. Therefore, the pain will happen only in that certain poor posture position. Once the poor posture has become a habit and is maintained most of the time, now all different movements of the arm will produce pain. Once shoulder problems have developed, poor posture will frequently make these problems worse and extend them. The effects of poor posture in the long-term can be just as severe and harmful as the effects of injuries.

Postural Stresses

These are the common positions that affect the shoulder structures:

1.) Raised arm postures

Performing raised arm or overhead activities for prolonged periods of time during activities is a major contributing factor to causing and extending shoulder pain. These raised arms or overhead activities place repeated postural stresses on the structures of the shoulder.

2.) Sitting and standing for prolonged periods

For most of us, sitting or standing for long periods results in poor posture. When we stand for long periods or sit and relax in a chair, the head slowly protrudes forward in the shoulder girdle becomes rounded because the supporting muscles become tired. As these muscles fatigue, we lose the main support for good shoulder posture because they no longer hold us upright. Many of us spend a lot of time at work or free time in slouched postures, like working in front of a computer with an outstretched arm.

3.) Lying down and sleeping

If you wake up in the morning with a stiff and painful shoulder that was not causing problems the night before, or your shoulder pain wakes you consistently during the night, it is likely there is something wrong with the position in which you sleep or the support available for your shoulder. If you were lying in a position that is placing stress on your shoulder by either lying on it, leaving your shoulder unsupported, or lying in a raised arm posture, an overstretching of the painful structures occurs. Poor sleeping postures can make an already painful shoulder worse.

So there you have it, the major causes of shoulder pain. Once you understand the causes, the next step is to identify which one is affecting you and how to reverse the changes that have taken place at the shoulder joint for relief.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain and want answers NOW about how to get shoulder pain relief, feel free to Apply For A FREE Discovery Session. This can be done Virtually or In The Clinic...

OR, If you are experiencing Shoulder Pain, get out FREE Guide with Tips for Quick Shoulder Pain Relief:

If you have further questions regarding this blog post or other tips that can help you to relieve Shoulder Pain, Contact Us at Skyline Physical Therapy!

74 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Tap To Call and Book Your Appointment

bottom of page