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Shoulder Pain


Your shoulder is a complex system of muscles, tendons, and bones that work together to allow for the range of motion you need for your daily activities. It’s this same complexity that leaves your shoulder at risk for dislocations or

conditions that lead to chronic shoulder pain.

Dr. Marilyn E. Copeland, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship-trained sports medicine specialist at Fondren Orthopedic Group of Houston, Texas, can diagnose the root of your shoulder pain and help you recover. If you’re in the Clear Lake or Greater Houston area and suffer from recurrent shoulder pain, call Dr. Copeland’s office or request your appointment online.

The shoulder works hard for you to accomplish many activities, from daily lifting and chores, to athletics where it is instrumental in pitching and hitting. Many people think of the shoulder just as the connection from the neck to the arm. This is in part true but incorporates so much more.

With pain coming from the shoulder area it is sometimes difficult for a patient to tell if it originates from the neck or the actual shoulder. Pain with raising the arm above shoulder height is probably coming from the shoulder joint. This is also true if there is pain that happens at night.

Most of the time, there is not necessarily an injury that people noticed that started the pain, which can be confusing for most patients. This, however, is normal.

Shoulder Pain Q & A

What are the most common sports-related shoulder injuries?

Sports-related shoulder injuries typically occur from sports that require a lot of overhead arm movements, such as tennis, volleyball, swimming, or weightlifting. Whether through hyperextension or an accident on the field, most shoulder pain falls into one of the following categories:


Hyperextension, physical trauma, or landing with an outstretched arm can all lead to a shoulder dislocation. Most patients with a dislocated shoulder experience shoulder pain and reduced mobility in the affected area.

AC joint sprains/dislocation

The acromioclavicular (AC) joint connects the collarbone to the shoulder blade. Sprains in this area usually result from falls landing on the shoulder or other high-impact blows to the top of the shoulder. Pain and swelling in the shoulder region are typical following an AC joint sprain, particularly when you move your arm laterally across your body.

Labral Tears

A ring of cartilage called the labrum surrounds your shoulder socket to assist with flexibility. Injuries to the labrum aren’t always from an obvious event such as a fall, but you might feel a pain “deep” in your shoulder if you’ve injured your labrum.


Rotator Cuff Injuries

Your rotator cuff is the group of shoulder muscles that work together to keep your shoulder joint in place. Rotator cuff injuries tend to occur after repetitive movements or trauma to the shoulder, and you might feel pain when lifting objects or lying on the affected side.

Are women at greater risk for shoulder pain?

Women, on average, incur more sports-related injuries than men. While the reason for this isn’t clear, these factors may contribute:

  • Anatomy: Certain anatomical differences between men and women can leave women with a higher risk of specific shoulder and joint injuries.

  • Flexibility: Women tend to be more flexible than men, which can lead to hyperextension and increased muscle strain.

Certain shoulder conditions, such as frozen shoulder, also occur more often in women than men, particularly during the postmenopausal stages.

How is shoulder pain treated?

Dr. Copeland treats your shoulder pain based on the type and severity of your injury. Noninvasive treatments such as anti-inflammatory medication, injections, modified physical activities, and physical therapy can often resolve pain caused by repetitive movements or strain.

For more severe pain, Dr. Copeland performs minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures to correct the injury and put you on the road to recovery.

If you’re having pain and mobility issues in your shoulder, call or request your appointment online today to find out your best treatment options.


Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnosis or give a comprehensive overview of your pain. This content is for information purposes only. For an official medical diagnosis of your individual orthopedic pain, consult Dr. Copeland in clinic via appointment.

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