Shoulder pain might be one of the worst types of everyday aches your body can experience. The shoulder’s proximity to your head and neck means that, even if you’re able to keep it held still throughout the day, something as simple as a gentle cough or slouching could jar it and cause pain to shoot from your shoulder down to your arm.
Sometimes, shoulder pain isn’t even shoulder pain at all but rather neck or bicep pain. According to Healthline, pain in your shoulder that is caused by another body part is known as “referred pain.”
Referred pain can be differentiated from actual shoulder pain by moving your shoulder around. If the pain doesn’t get worse, the pain is likely stemming from elsewhere. But what if your shoulder pain does get worse when you move your shoulder? What’s causing it to hurt? It turns out that the answer isn’t quite so straightforward.
Shoulder pain can be caused by many things
According to Healthline, many of the causes of shoulder pain are simple, such as a torn rotator cuff or cartilage, a pinched nerve, or soreness from overuse. Shoulder pain could also because of something more serious, such as arthritis, bone spurs, a broken bone, or even a spinal injury.
In some cases, shoulder pain could even be a sign of a heart attack. According to Honor Health, shoulder pain during a heart attack for men will typically travel from the left shoulder to the chin or down the arm. In women, however, the pain may not be as noticeable and could be found in the left or right arm, crossing to other parts of the body including the upper back and chin. Shoulder pain caused by a heart attack will likely be accompanied by other symptoms including shortness of breath, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, anxiety, and intermittent pain.
If you think you might be having a heart attack, you should call 911 immediately. If, however, your shoulder pain seems to have a different cause, WebMD says you can try resting it, elevating it above the heart, and applying ice for a few days. If the pain is especially severe, or if it doesn’t improve, consult your doctor.
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