What to Do if You Have Sudden Shoulder Pain When Lifting Your Arm

Woman experiencing Shoulder Pain

The shoulders are made up of several interacting groups of muscles, tendons and ligaments. This soft tissue forms the rotator cuffs, which provide stability for the shoulders and power them for a full range of motion.

If you’re suffering from sudden shoulder pain when lifting your arm, it’s likely related to an injury in the rotator cuff. This may be inflammation in one of the tendons or the bursae or may be the result of impingement.

Impingement in the rotator cuff occurs when some of its soft tissue is caught in the space between the rotator cuff and your shoulder bone. When this happens, it feels as though your shoulder is being pinched when raising it up, and you may even be unable to fully raise it up. Shoulder impingement often contributes to inflammation in the tendons or bursae that you may also be experiencing.

Taking care of shoulder impingement at home

If you’re experiencing pain in the shoulder and difficulty raising your arm, you should rest your arm. You don’t need to completely immobilize the arm as this will lead to more stiffness, but you should cut back on physically demanding activities.

You can ice your shoulder with a bag of ice or a cold pack to help reduce any swelling and pain. Apply the ice to your shoulder for about 15 minutes. Take a break for about an hour before applying ice again. Repeat as often as you’d like for a day or two.

Visiting a professional for treatment

If some of the tissue in your shoulder is stretched or torn and causing impingement, you may need surgical intervention. Before trying surgery, your doctor may recommend physical therapy and medication, but if these treatments don’t work, an orthopedic surgeon can help.

Orthopedic surgeons can perform minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures to repair the damaged tissue. These procedures are fast, leave minimal scarring and are low in risk.

Orthopedic surgeons may also perform open surgery if the wound is too severe for minimally invasive techniques. In either case, a surgeon can help you reduce your shoulder pain and regain mobility.

Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for shoulder pain treatment

Are you ready to regain the use of your shoulder and arm? Our orthopedic specialists at the Florida Spine and Joint Institute are here for you. Contact our team today for more information about treating your shoulder pain or to schedule an initial appointment.