Not being able to move your arm as you normally would always is a disadvantage. The discomfort caused by shoulder pain can make it difficult to complete normal daily tasks. There are four main causes of soreness in your upper-arm joint and each has a unique treatment.

Tendonitis

Repetitive motion of the tendons connecting the muscles and bones can cause them to become inflamed. If you have discomfort, typically a dull ache, concentrated around the joint, the most likely cause is tendonitis. This injury is common in athletes and people whose jobs require a lot of overhead lifting, physical exertion, and awkward positions.

Your doctor will do a physical exam to ensure tendonitis is the reason for your soreness. In some cases, he or she may require an x-ray or MRI to confirm the diagnosis. In order to treat the injury, you will be told to take anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen. You also need to rest the joint for several days, then move into some strengthening exercises to build the area. In the initial days, you should apply heat and a cold compress to the area and may even need to wrap it with a compression bandage to treat the swelling.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a joint disorder whose name is used to describe approximately 100 different types of diseases. While it is more commonly seen in older adults, the disorder can happen at any age and can be the direct result of a previous injury. The joint becomes stiff and sore over time and can even become inflamed or swell. Treatments for this type of disorder vary but most likely you will have to take some form of medication. If the discomfort is extreme, your doctor may prescribe something stronger than over-the-counter pills. He or she may also recommend a topical cream.

In addition to using medication to treat shoulder pain due to arthritis, your doctor may also suggest you attend physical therapy sessions. This disorder can cause you to start reducing your range of movement in order to avoid discomfort. However, reducing use of the joint will only make it harder to use. Physical therapy can help restore a normal range of movement to your joints.

Instability

If you dislocate your shoulder, you have caused what is known as an instability in the area. While the cause for instability is most often due to a sudden impact or wrenching of the socket, it can also be caused by overuse or an infection. Due to stretching or teasing of ligaments, it may be impossible for the joint to be as stable as it was before.

A dislocation is an obvious injury because the area looks abnormal and there is intestinal discomfort. Your doctor will do a physical examination to determine the strength of the joint. The first goal is to stabilize the area without doing surgery. You may have to attend physical therapy and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. You also may have to wear a special strap to improve stability. You may also have to have surgery to repair torn or exceptionally loose ligaments.

Fracture

The final most common reason for shoulder pain is fractures to the area. A break in the upper arm, clavicle, or shoulder blade will cause discomfort. Your doctor will do x-rays to determine the severity of the fraction and determine whether a simple splint or cast will work to immobilize the area. If the break is bad, you may have to have surgery to correct it.

While the arm is immobilized in the cast, your muscles will weakened. After the splint or cast is removed, you will need to undergo physical therapy in order to regain full use of your arm.