Shoulder Pain- What’s the Real Issue?

Experiencing shoulder pain? Can you not lift your arm above the shoulder? If so, Dr. Wayne Burkhead of The Carrell Clinic in Dallas, Texas shares “The shoulder is a ball and socket joint with a large range of movement. Since mobile joints are more susceptible to injury, shoulder pain is a very common condition.” Shoulder pain includes any pain that arises in or around your shoulder. Shoulder pain may originate in any of the surrounding muscles, ligaments, or tendons, or in the joint itself. Shoulder pain usually worsens with activities or movement of your arm or shoulder.

Sometimes, pain in the shoulder isn’t caused by an issue in the shoulder joint, but by a problem in another area. For example, problems in the neck can be felt in the shoulder and upper back. Shoulder pain can be caused by a minor injury, bad posture or an underlying health condition.

Certain diseases and conditions may also cause shoulder pain by affecting structures in your chest or abdomen, such as heart disease or gallbladder disease. Shoulder pain that arises from some other structure is called “referred pain.” Referred shoulder pain usually doesn’t worsen when you move your shoulder. Shoulder pain is a common problem with a number of different causes and can be often a symptom of another problem.

Shoulder Instability

The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint where the top of your humerus (upper arm bone) fits into the socket of your shoulder blade. Shoulder instability occurs when the ball part of the shoulder joint does not move correctly in the socket. This can range from a slipping or locking feeling in your shoulder, to a full shoulder dislocation where the ball comes completely out of the socket.

The symptoms of shoulder instability can sometimes be vague. Symptoms include:

  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Shoulder Fatigue
  • Tingling
  • A clicking, popping or locking sensation
  • If the shoulder is dislocated symptoms can include:
  • Limited movement
  • Severe pain
  • The arm being visibly out of place

Poor Posture

Maintaining the correct posture cannot only prevent shoulder pain but also help alleviate it.

Rotator Cuff Disorders

A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint and help to keep it stable and in the correct position. Tendons are the tough, rubbery cords that link muscles to bones.

Different types of rotator cuff disorders can cause different symptoms, but common features include:

  • Pain at night
  • Pain on the front and side of your shoulder
  • Pain that worsens during activities where your arm is above shoulder level


Osteoarthritis occurs in the shoulder joints and can cause pain and limit movement.

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder, also known as Adhesive Capsulitis, is stiffness of the shoulder joint that makes it very difficult to carry out the full range of normal shoulder movements. This can occur when there is thickening, swelling, and tightening of the flexible tissue that surrounds your shoulder joint. This leaves less space for your upper arm bone (humerus) in the shoulder joint and makes movement stiff and painful. Carrying out everyday tasks such as driving, dressing, and computer work can be very difficult. For some, they are unable to move their shoulder at all.

Dallas Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Wayne Burkhead is a world-renowned shoulder expert. The author of scientific articles, book chapters, and textbooks on the rotator cuff and dislocating shoulder, Dr. Burkhead has lectured at national, as well as international conferences, speaking both nationally and internationally on the subject. Dr. Burkhead is widely known for the creation of modular replacement for the shoulder, and the development of advanced techniques to improve the results from rotator cuff repair and surgery for the dislocating shoulder. Dr. Burkhead is board certified, he is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and a member and past president of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons and with The Carrell Clinic of Dallas, Texas. Dr. Wayne Burkhead was named a Top10MD – an honor only 1-in-3 doctors in the United States succeed with and became a Medical Advisor thereafter.

To schedule an appointment in the Dallas Fort Worth area with Dr. Wayne Burkhead call 214-220-2468.