Why do my shoulders always hurt?

Why do my Shoulders Always Hurt?

Shoulder pain can be incredibly frustrating and limiting in your daily activities. Whether you’ve experienced shoulder pain due to an injury or you’ve noticed it becoming more of a regular occurrence, understanding the cause of your pain can help you find a solution to relieve it. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common reasons why your shoulders might be hurting and what you can do about it.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

There are many factors that can contribute to shoulder pain. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis
  • Arthritis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Pinched nerves

Let’s take a closer look at each of these causes:

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround and support your shoulder joint. Any tear in this area can cause pain, weakness, and limited mobility. This type of injury can occur from repetitive overhead movement, overuse, or a sudden trauma like a fall. People who play sports that involve throwing or overhead movements are at higher risk of developing rotator cuff injuries.


Bursitis is a condition that occurs when the bursae (small fluid-filled sacs) that cushion the joints become inflamed. When this happens, it can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. Bursitis is most common in the shoulder joint and can be caused by repetitive motions, such as lifting heavy objects or overhead movements.


Tendinitis occurs when the tendons that connect muscle to bone become inflamed. Tendinitis in the shoulder can cause pain, tenderness, and limited mobility. This condition is commonly seen in athletes who frequently use their shoulders, such as tennis players or baseball pitchers.


Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation in the joints, which can lead to pain, swelling, and stiffness. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, usually affects people over the age of 50 and is caused by the wear and tear of cartilage in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder that can cause joint pain and stiffness throughout the body, including the shoulders.

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. The cause of frozen shoulder is not entirely known, but it may be linked to injury or inflammation. The condition typically goes through three stages: freezing, frozen, and thawing. During the freezing stage, the shoulder becomes painful and stiff. In the frozen stage, the pain may lessen, but the shoulder remains stiff. Finally, during the thawing stage, the shoulder slowly regains mobility.

Pinched Nerves

A pinched nerve occurs when a nerve in the body is compressed or damaged. In the shoulder, this can be caused by a variety of factors, such as a herniated disc in the neck or a bone spur in the shoulder. Symptoms of a pinched nerve can include pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness in the affected area.

Treatment and Prevention

The treatment for shoulder pain will depend on the underlying cause. However, there are some general principles that can help relieve pain and prevent further injury. Some of these include:

  • Rest and avoiding activities that aggravate the pain
  • Applying ice to the shoulder to reduce swelling and inflammation
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Physical therapy to improve range of motion and strengthen the shoulder muscles
  • Surgery in severe cases, such as a rotator cuff tear or frozen shoulder

To prevent shoulder pain, it’s important to maintain good posture, avoid repetitive overhead movement, and strengthen the shoulder muscles through regular exercise. If you play sports that involve throwing or overhead motion, make sure to warm up properly and wear appropriate gear to protect your shoulders.


Shoulder pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including rotator cuff injuries, bursitis, tendinitis, arthritis, frozen shoulder, and pinched nerves. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause, but there are general principles that can help relieve pain and prevent further injury. By maintaining good posture, avoiding repetitive overhead movement, and strengthening the shoulder muscles through regular exercise, you can help prevent shoulder pain from occurring in the future.


Here are some of the most common questions asked about shoulder pain:

  • Q: What causes shoulder pain at night?
  • A: Shoulder pain that occurs at night may be caused by sleeping in an awkward position, a rotator cuff injury, or bursitis.
  • Q: When should I see a doctor for shoulder pain?
  • A: You should see a doctor if your shoulder pain lasts for more than a few days, if you have difficulty moving your shoulder, or if you experience severe pain or swelling.
  • Q: Can shoulder pain be a sign of something serious?
  • A: Yes, shoulder pain can be a symptom of a heart attack or a nerve or spinal cord injury, so it’s important to seek medical attention if you experience severe or sudden shoulder pain.


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