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15 Causes of Shoulder and Arm Pain

An Overview of the Causes of Right Shoulder and Arm Pain

Do you know that shoulder and arm pain rank among the most prevalent problems among individuals and can escalate if not addressed on time? Our shoulders and arms carry out complex daily activities and can subsequently be vulnerable to injury, causing pain on either the left or right side. To better understand the consequences of this affliction, let's explore some of the primary underlying causes that often lead to the right shoulder and arm pain.

Anatomy of the Shoulder and Arm

The shoulders are some of the most mobile joints in the body. This means that they are used to function in a series of actions that are stressful and can hurt the joints and muscles in the region.

In most cases, right shoulder pain occurs when there is inflammation in the tendons and cartilage in the shoulder region due to injury, medical condition, or wear and tear. These pains can vary in intensity and can occur across the shoulder and radiate into the arms.

Shoulder pain can often be treated with rest, medication, and physiotherapy.

Understanding shoulder and arm pain thoroughly requires a foundational knowledge of their intricate anatomy. The shoulder and arm comprise essential components, such as bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. By familiarizing ourselves with these structures and their interplay, we can gain better insights into pain's underlying causes and mechanisms.

15 Causes of  Right Shoulder and Arm Pain that You Should Know About

Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

The rotator cuffs are a series of muscles and tendons that help keep the upper bone in the shoulder socket. An injury to the tendons in this region results in rotator cuff tendonitis or tear, resulting in pain and swelling in the shoulder.

This is often caused due to shock and repetitive pressure on the tendons due to physical activities.

Swimmer's Shoulder

A swimmer's shoulder occurs due to repeated circular motion usage of the shoulder joints, resulting in swelling, irritation, and possible tear of the tendons. It is known as a swimmer's shoulder as it is a common injury in swimmers due to their engagement of the shoulders.

Frozen Shoulder

A frozen shoulder occurs when there is stiffness in the shoulder and creates a "lock" when engaging it in activities. The common reason for this is inflammation of the joints, which can cause such arthritis.

Shoulder Dislocation

Shoulder dislocations can be quite painful and are common in individuals who engage in high-contact sports or activities. It is a condition when the top of the humerus pops out of its socket in the shoulder. This can create immobilization in the shoulder and result in tears in tendons and cartilage in the bones.

Broken Collarbone

A broken collarbone occurs when the clavicle has an impact or stress. This can occur due to sudden impact on the clavicle due to a fall or effect from the external body. It can be challenging to treat and requires care. Neck injuries may also occur when there is a broken collarbone.


Sprains can occur in the shoulder when there is a tear in the ligament of the shoulder. This can occur due to low strength of the ligament, excessive use, lack of physical exercises, and sudden impact externally.

Sprains can cause swelling and soreness and make it difficult to engage in activities.

Brachial Neuritis

Brachial Neuritis occurs when the brachial nerve that runs through the shoulder and arms is inflamed due to stress, physical injury, or compression. This can result in a numbing sensation and even cause soreness and pain.

It often occurs due to sudden movement and stress due to impact.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome occurs when the nerves and blood vessels around the collar bone and the first rib become compressed. This can result in a series of issues that can cause shortness of breath, a locked chest, and reduced mobility in the torso.

It occurs due to impact on the chest region and sudden pressure on the torso.


A fracture in the humerus or the upper bone in your arm can result in shoulder pain as it can impact the joints and muscles in the shoulder. This can result from physical impacts such as a fall or accident.


Osteoarthritis can occur when there is regular wear and tear of the joints and the tendons around the joint with time. This condition can deteriorate with time and result in reduced mobility, increased inflammation, and pain in the region.

Shoulder Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition with significant deterioration of joints in the body. Often individuals with RA can have shoulder pains in the first two years of having RA. 

The condition worsens with time, and if not managed timely, it can result in severe immobility of the shoulders.

Cervical Radiculopathy

Cervical Radiculopathy is when a nerve in the neck becomes compressed, resulting in loss of sensation, numbing pain, and reduced mobility in the shoulder and neck region.

It can occur due to improper posture, sudden impact, and other conditions.

Heart Problems

In some cases, an underlying heart issue can result in throbbing pain in the back and extends into the arms and shoulder. This occurs when there is low blood circulation to the shoulder and may occur due to genetic conditions, lifestyle changes, and stress.

Disuse Syndrome

Disuse syndrome is a condition where right shoulder pains can occur due to a sedentary lifestyle. The lower movement in the shoulder due to lack of activities can stiffen the bones and joints and cause pain. This can also reduce blood flow, which can aggravate muscle deterioration.


In contrast to the disuse syndrome, overuse can result in injuries to the bones and tendons, causing friction and tear in the tendons. This is often a cause for shoulder pain as the body is not rested well.

Physiotattva Takes Care of Your Pain

At Physiotattva, you'll find a tailor-made program to manage shoulder pain effectively. With our pioneering facilities and precision analysis, our in-house medical experts can provide accurate insight into your condition. Our physiotherapists can create suitable regimens for you designed to improve mobility, flexibility, and strength in your shoulder. Studies have shown that most shoulder pain can be alleviated or completely treated without needing drugs with the right physiotherapy. We recognize that every patient has unique characteristics and circumstances, as does their treatment plan. That's why our specialists have come up with a treatment program that's exclusive to you. Don't wait any longer; consult with us today, and let us develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce shoulder pain, help improve mobility, and enhance your quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean when your shoulder and arm hurt?

It often means that your shoulders are stressed and have an underlying impact on the tendons and joints in the shoulder. It may signify the need for exercise, nutrients, or medical intervention for other underlying medication conditions.

What causes pain in both shoulders and upper arms?

Several reasons, such as tears in the tendon, wear and tear of joints, arthritis, heart condition, and nerve damage, are common causes of pain in the shoulder and upper arm.

What causes right shoulder pain that radiates down the arm?

Right shoulder pain that radiates down the arm can be caused by various factors, including rotator cuff injuries, frozen shoulder, shoulder impingement, cervical radiculopathy, shoulder bursitis, and osteoarthritis. Consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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