Reasons You May Have Shoulder Pain When Lifting Your Arm

Physician holding the right shoulder of the old man

One of the primary roles of the shoulder is to give you the range of motion you need to lift your arm over your head. When an injury or chronic condition takes this ability away, it can be difficult to live a normal life.

If you’re having trouble lifting your arm over your head without pain, you may need medical treatment.

Common causes of shoulder pain when lifting your arm

  1. Rotator cuff tear — The rotator cuff is made up of several muscles and tendons that hold the shoulder joint in place and provide a range of motion. When one of the muscles or tendons in the rotator cuff is torn, it can be painful to try and lift your arm.
  2. Shoulder impingement — Repetitive motions that involve lifting your arms over your head can cause impingement in the shoulder. Essentially, this means that one of the tendons in your shoulder is compressed and cannot function properly. Shoulder impingement can develop into a rotator cuff tear if left untreated and you continue to use your shoulder in physical activities.
  3. Tendinitis — Overuse of the shoulder can cause the tendons to rub against the bones. This can irritate the tendons, which causes painful inflammation known as tendinitis.
  4. Bursitis — The tendons in your shoulder are separated from the bones by small sacs of fluid known as the bursae. These prevent the tendons from rubbing against the bone and causing tendinitis. However, overuse and injuries can create inflammation in the bursae known as bursitis. This is a painful condition that causes swelling and loss of mobility in the shoulder.
  5. Arthritis — Arthritis is a chronic condition that causes the cartilage in your shoulder and other joints to break down. This results in an increase of friction between the bones in your joint, which is painful and limits your range of motion.

Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for shoulder pain treatment

If you have pain in your shoulder when lifting your arm over your head, our team at the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute can help. We specialize in a variety of treatments and surgical procedures for treating shoulder pain. Contact us today to learn more about shoulder pain treatment or to schedule an initial appointment.