Here are a few things to watch out for that could indicate your shoulder pain is caused by a serious shoulder injury.

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Shoulder pain can be caused by a variety of things, and it is important to determine the cause for your pain so that you can get treatment. Some causes of shoulder pain are easily treated, but others require more extensive care. If your shoulder pain persists or worsens over time without improvement, consider seeking medical attention.


Pain is the most common symptom of shoulder injuries, and it can come in many forms. The pain may be sharp or dull, a burning sensation or even tingling. It may be present at rest or only when you move your arm in certain ways. Pain might be felt in the shoulder joint itself or somewhere else from the elbow to wrist or even your hand.

The severity of pain varies widely depending on what has happened to cause it: A minor sprain might produce only mild discomfort with little functional impairment; a torn ligament could make lifting anything heavier than an empty glass very difficult and painful; broken bones would likely require surgery and extensive rehabilitation before any return to normal activity could begin.


Weakness in the shoulder. Weakness in the arm. Weakness in certain positions – overhead, away from your body, or behind your back – could indicate a rotator cuff tear.

For example: If you’re having trouble raising your arm above your head and keeping it there without pain or discomfort for more than 5 seconds, this could be an indication of weakness in the rotator cuff muscle group.

Decreased shoulder range of motion

Decreased shoulder range of motion is a common symptom that can be caused by many different things, including injury and age. If you have decreased shoulder range of motion, it’s important to see a doctor or physical therapist as soon as possible.

Shoulder pain is one of the most common reasons for people to see their primary care physician. A physical therapist can help you regain some or all of your lost shoulder strength and flexibility with treatments like exercise programs, massage therapy and other manual techniques.

Feeling like the shoulder is loose or going to pop out of the socket

If you feel like your shoulder is loose or going to pop out of the socket, this can be a sign of instability. The rotator cuff muscles, labrum and ligaments around your joint are responsible for keeping your humerus in place. When they’re injured or weakened, it’s harder for them to do their job effectively.

If you notice that feeling with any regularity–or if it happens just once but seems severe–it’s time for a visit with an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulders.


If you have pain and weakness reaching overhead or away from the body, decreased shoulder range of motion, feeling like your shoulder is loose or that it will spontaneously dislocate, seek medical attention. This is especially important if the symptoms are new (or have been present for less than six weeks) and severe enough to interfere with daily activities.

We are looking for 5 patients with shoulder pain who want to get significantly better in the next 30 days, without cortisone shots, physical therapy, or surgery. Click this link and enter the term ‘Interested’ in the description box to learn more.

This post is meant for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.