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Extensive Care for Shoulder Pain


Shoulder pain is any type of pain or discomfort in or around the shoulder joint. It can feel like a dull ache and build slowly over weeks or months, or it may present itself as a sudden, sharp type of discomfort. 

To discover a way to live without shoulder pain, consult our orthopedic specialists in the Bay Area at Dignity Health.

Symptoms with Shoulder Pain 

Symptoms that are common with shoulder pain include: 

  • Grinding sensation or clicking and popping noises when you move your arm
  • Muscle stiffness and weakness
  • Pain in your neck, arm or back
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Shoulder warmth or redness

Seek urgent (same-day) care for:

  • Inability to move your shoulder or arm
  • Sudden or intense pain, swelling or deformity of your shoulder or arm

When to Seek Emergency Care for Shoulder Pain

In some cases, shoulder pain can be a sign of a heart attack. Call 9-1-1 if you have shoulder pain with these symptoms:

  • Chest pain, tightness or pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Jaw, neck or abdominal pain

Causes of Shoulder Pain

Most shoulder pain causes are due to problems with the shoulder joint and surrounding structures, such as:

  • Arthritis, most commonly osteoarthritis, which is caused by general wear and tear on joints.
  • Bone fractures, such as a fractured shoulder blade, collarbone or upper arm bone.
  • Bursitis, or inflammation of fluid-filled sacs that protect joints.
  • Pinched nerves, such as in the neck, which can cause pain in the shoulder and possibly down to the hand.
  • Shoulder dislocation or separation, also called instability.
  • Torn tendons or tendinitis due to overuse or injury. The tendons most affected are the rotator cuff and bicep tendons.

Reliable Treatment for Shoulder Pain at Dignity Health

When you come to one of our Dignity Health locations in the Bay Area, your doctor will ask about your symptoms, physically examine your shoulder, and measure your strength and ability to rotate your shoulder and lift your arm. They may also utilize an imaging test, such as an X-ray, CT scan, MRI, arthrography or arthroscopy.

Find a doctor who can answer all of your questions about shoulder conditions, along with treatment for shoulder pain, by using our Find a Doctor tool to locate a specialist near you.

Dignity Health is an expert resource for shoulder pain in San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Redwood City.