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Assess how well your knee or hip joints are functioning. Take our FREE 5 minute assessment and recieve recommendations for follow-up steps.


Shoulder Pain

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can severely limit daily activity and diminish quality of life. The most common causes of shoulder pain are:

  • Impingement due to overuse or repetitive motion with the shoulder in an awkward position
  • Injuries such as rotator cuff tearanterior shoulder instability, shoulder dislocation, or fracture  
  • Bursitis 
  • Posture or muscle imbalance problems
  • Referred pain – such as problems in your neck causing pain in your shoulder
  • Arthritis – less common

Getting to the Root Cause of Shoulder Pain

There are lots of possible causes for shoulder pain, and the problem may not always be in your shoulder. Therefore you must have a proper diagnosis in order to seek the right treatment for you.

  • See your family doctor.
  • Attend a shoulder pain seminar to learn about diagnosis and treatment methods.
  • Your family doctor may refer you to an orthopaedic specialist, or you may make an appointment to see one of our orthopaedic specialists directly.

Diagnostic Testing

Your family doctor or orthopaedic specialist may use one or more of the following evaluation methods to arrive at a diagnosis.

  • Physical examination
  • X-ray
  • MRI   
  • Arthrogram – an X-ray with dye injected into the joint
  • Blood test for rheumatoid arthritis
  • Electromyogram – if the cause is believed to be in the neck

Treatment Options

Typically, your doctor may recommend one of the following treatments.

  • Medication – typically oral anti-inflammatories
  • Rest or activity modification – if the cause is overuse
  • Cortisone injections
  • Physical or occupational therapy – MidMichigan Health offers comprehensive rehabilitation services at several convenient locations. Ask your doctor about getting a referral to our services.
  • Arthroscopic surgery – a minimally invasive surgery involving small incisions and the use of a fiber-optic scope.
  • Open rotator cuff repairs
  • Shoulder replacement – If your condition warrants a shoulder replacement, MidMichigan offers a special surgical program called Joint Camp that provides faster recovery, higher patient satisfaction, lower risk of infection and improved outcomes, compared to traditional surgery. Joint Camp is available at our Medical Centers in Alma and Midland.

Learn More about Joint Camp