Sharp pain in the shoulder joint when raising the arm

The humerus in the upper part has a spherical shape, and the articular cavity of the scapula connected to the humerus looks like a small “fossa”. The role of the cavity is to mitigate the level of friction of the shoulder bone during movement. Also, the cavity provides protection during sudden movements of the hand.

The joint capsule of the shoulder is connected to the bone base of the scapula. Nerve endings connect the shoulder joint and scapula. As a result, pain may occur with careless movements. In general, there are almost no nerve endings in the shoulder joint, and it is connected to the rest of the limb only with muscles. Because of this structure, dislocations and injuries to the hand are common.


Possible causes of discomfort are:

  • Injuries. Dislocations and muscle strain are the most common cause of an unpleasant syndrome. Pathology may develop due to an unsuccessful fall or stroke.
    osteochondrosis. Drawing pain in the shoulder, passing into the neck and arms, most likely indicates the presence of osteochondrosis.
  • Muscle strain. Every day, a person performs many actions that the shoulder joint gets used to. A change in such actions provokes inflammation of the cuff of the shoulder.
  • Arthrosis of the shoulder joint. The disease belongs to chronic ailments, accompanied by severe pain when trying to raise a hand. This condition is characterized by a decrease in the elasticity of the cartilage, over time, the patient begins to experience constant pain.
  • Salt deposits. After 40 years, an excessive accumulation of calcium in the joints occurs. As a result, there is a crunch and pain in the shoulder when raising a hand.
  • Tendon inflammation. The disease develops with severe hypothermia or overstrain of the shoulder muscles. Tendons with a compacted structure rub against the bone, which is characterized by pain in the shoulder when raising a hand.


Different diseases have similar symptoms, but the nature of the pain has distinctive features. Thanks to the sensations, it is quite possible to assess the degree of development of the ailment:

  • Strong pain. It is these feelings that the patient experiences with the inflammatory process of the ligaments, shoulder injury and pinched nerve.
  • Sharp. Weight lifting can provoke damage to the shoulder joint, which is proved by acute pain.
  • Aching. This nature of the pain is more likely not indicative of joint damage, but of pathological changes within the body. Most likely, the patient is diagnosed with myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease, etc.
  • Sharp. It occurs due to the presence of infectious processes in the shoulder joint.
  • Constant. Bruise or serious bone damage is accompanied by constant pain.
  • Dumb. A similar pain syndrome is characteristic of tendonitis.
  • Throbbing. It is a consequence of muscle strain.


An accurate diagnosis can be obtained using diagnostic methods:

  1. X-ray diagnostics. The technique helps to determine the condition of cartilage tissue, whether there are bruises and other injuries.
  2. MRI The method gives an accurate picture of the condition of the joint and nearby tissues.
  3. CT scan. The study shows the nature of the pathological process, which can be dystrophic, degenerative or inflammatory.

Having collected the necessary information according to the results of the examination, it is not difficult for a specialist to determine the diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

Treatment and what to do

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologistShishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.

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First aid

As soon as acute pain has made itself felt, it is worthwhile to stop this symptom to prevent possible damage to the joint of the shoulder:

  • Limit any hand movements.
  • Apply cold for 20 minutes, repeat after 2 hours.
  • Relax your muscles, use special exercises or do yoga.

Having provided first aid, be sure to visit a doctor to clarify the diagnosis.


You can stop pain in the shoulder when raising your hand using ointments and tablets (Diclofenac, Ibuprofen).

In the inflammatory process, corticosteroids are prescribed, also non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often used. In the first case, the drugs are used in severe cases of the disease and the course of their administration is short. The second ones are used for treatment up to three months. Reception of both of these helps to reduce pain during a raising of the arm.

When taking tablets and using ointments do not give the desired effect, injections are prescribed in the joint lesion area. Actually, such a solution, especially with tendonitis and bursitis.

Physiotherapy and surgery

Almost always, in the presence of a symptom of pain, when trying to raise a patient’s hand, they are sent for physiotherapy. Mud baths, ultraviolet radiation, exercises give a good result and relieve discomfort. A special place in this treatment is given to massage and acupuncture. These techniques relax muscles well and, under the influence on the necessary points, contribute to the speedy recovery of the patient.

Nevertheless, situations are not excluded when the only way to help the patient get rid of the disease is to use a scalpel. This is usually necessary when stitching ligaments, to replace the joint with an implant and other manipulations. Rehabilitation after surgery is quite lengthy, so do not allow such a neglected situation.


There are simple recommendations for maintaining joints:

  1. Use hard mattresses and the same pillow.
  2. Distribute the load evenly on both hands.
  3. Keep your back always straight.

Do gymnastics in the morning, do not supercool and do not allow the body to overheat.

It is important to remember that if the pain does not go away for more than a week, you should immediately visit a specialist. Self-medication is simply dangerous, since increasing pain can lead to unpleasant consequences.

Pain in raising a hand causes, methods of diagnosis and treatment

Pain in raising a hand is a painful, unpleasant sensation that occurs in the shoulder joint, forearm, or shoulder. Appear due to injuries, against the background of excessive physical exertion, prolonged immobilization of the shoulder joint, monotonous work. Pathological pain when raising a hand is associated with joint diseases of a degenerative and inflammatory nature. Soreness is observed simultaneously with other symptoms of the disease. More often it is swelling, swelling, stiffness of movements in the damaged area.

The content of the article

Causes of pain when raising a hand

The most common reasons why it hurts when raising a hand include traumatic damage to the anatomical structures of the shoulder joint: tendons, joint capsule, articular lip, ligaments, bones, and arm muscles. It occurs during a blow to the shoulder, falling, abrupt abduction of the arm, due to domestic or industrial injury, dislocation, muscle strain, fracture, physical overload.

A certain role in the appearance of pain when raising the right and / or left hand is played by diseases of the musculoskeletal system, such as:

  • osteochondrosis of the cervical and thoracic spine;
  • intervertebral hernia;
  • tendonitis – inflammation of the tendons of the shoulder joint;
  • arthritis and arthrosis of various origins;
  • chronic tendosynovitis;
  • humeroscapular periarthritis;
  • inflammation of the muscles of the neck and shoulder girdle (cervical myositis);
  • bursitis of the shoulder joint;
  • rachiocampsis;
  • pathologies of connective tissue, such as scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus;
  • congenital malformations of the shoulder joint.

Other causes of pain during arm movement include impaired integrity of the arteries and veins of the upper extremities, chest injury, deposition of hard calcium salts in the tissues of the skin of the shoulder joint, heart disease, blood vessels, liver, gall bladder, lower respiratory tract organs, and neoplasms.

Types of pain when raising a hand

Depending on the underlying disease, the characteristics of its development, pain when raising a hand occurs acutely or has an asymptomatic course. In the early period, unpleasant sensations are associated with the capture and holding of the object, abduction and adduction, movements outward and inward, bending and unbending, circular hand rotations. Soreness is characterized by intensity, time of occurrence, duration, experiencing sensations (acute pain, cutting, stitching, shooting).

Soreness often appears and intensifies after physical exertion, hypothermia, and passes at rest. In the later stages, it occurs with minor movements without the active participation of the shoulder joint, sometimes even in a state of rest, and gives to the neck, elbows, wrists, metacarpals, fingers of the upper limbs. Due to pain, movements of the hand are constrained and difficult, muscles are weakened, it is difficult to perform the usual actions, night sleep is disturbed. For diseases that occur with the deposition of calcium salts, crunching during movements is characteristic. With injuries and bruises, there is swelling, swelling, excessive mobility of the shoulder, hematomas in the area of ​​damage.

Methods of diagnosis

If pain when raising a hand occurs as a result of the traumatic effect of the formations of the shoulder joint, consultation with a traumatologist is necessary. In case of painful sensations of unknown origin, patients turn to a general practitioner or orthopedist. To make a preliminary diagnosis, the doctor conducts an external examination, assesses the general condition and complaints of the patient, collects information about the presence of chronic or previously transferred diseases, injuries.

To clarify the diagnosis, exclude other diseases, perform hardware methods for the study of the shoulder joint: radiography, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, ultrasound of the cervical spine. To determine the infectious, inflammatory, oncological processes using data from laboratory tests of blood, urine, biological secretion. If there is a suspicion of the presence of links of diseases of other organs and systems that caused pain when raising the left hand or the right, a consultation of the appropriate specialist is prescribed: a neurologist, endocrinologist, cardiologist, neurosurgeon, vertebrologist.

In the network of MDR clinics, the diagnosis of the causes of pain when moving with a hand is based on research methods such as:

Shoulder pain

Everyone knows the phrase “shoulder”, meaning the emergence of some kind of moral burden, burden, trouble. According to psychophysiologists, discomfort or pain in the shoulders just arise as a result of the stresses we have experienced, due to hyperresponsibility and anxiety.

Pain in the shoulder joint can bother a person at different ages: older people often experience it, but among young people who lead a sedentary lifestyle, such problems are also not uncommon. Depending on the cause that causes it, pain in the shoulder joint can have a different nature and strength.

What diseases bothers joint pain?

With tendinitis, a sharp or pulling pain rises suddenly, often appears at night. The tendon becomes inflamed due to excessive stress on the shoulder and interferes with the free movement of the arm

With bursitis, soreness persists for a long time, the shoulder constantly aches. There is swelling, the patient is not able to raise his hand up, has difficulty taking it to the side

In case of a shoulder injury, as a rule, acute pain is felt in the damaged area, which becomes more intense during the movement of the hand. The shoulder joint can be injured as a result of a bruise, rupture of muscles or tendons, dislocation and fracture

With a capsule, the patient feels chronic aching pain, covering the upper part of the arm and neck, the shoulder muscles practically do not work. It should be noted that the inflammatory process in the joint capsule develops quite rarely.

With arthritis, the temperature of the skin around the inflamed shoulder joint rises, swelling is observed, arm movements are chained, but the pain is periodic: after a short acute period, it usually subsides

With arthrosis, the symptoms are similar to those described above. The hand moves with difficulty, a specific crunch is heard in the joint. In the advanced stage of the disease, the pain becomes constant, with palpation it is also felt in the region of the scapula and clavicle. Subsequently, due to cartilage dystrophy, the joint is also deformed.

With cervical osteochondrosis, pain and tingling spread throughout the arm and intensify when the patient moves his head or neck

In case of brachiocephalic periarthritis, a burning, pulling pain in the shoulder gives to the neck and arm, especially during attempts to lift it up or back, as well as at night. This disease is a complication of osteochondrosis in the cervical spine, the affected limb may go numb, gradually the muscles atrophy

With osteoporosis, the functions of the shoulder joint are impaired, the hand weakens. The pain increases with additional physical exertion

With neuritis of the brachial nerve, it seems deceptively that the right or left shoulder joint hurts, discomfort occurs unexpectedly, pain syndrome is usually of high intensity

Causes of pain

Any pain arises as a result of an imbalance of energy constitutions in the body, the doctors of the Tibetan medicine clinic “Naran” confidently declare this.

Most often, joint problems are the result of systematic hypothermia, which provokes indignation of the “Yin” dosha “wind” (nervous system) and “mucus” (endocrine and lymphatic systems). Cold penetrates the body through the skin, contributing to the excessive accumulation of mucus, penetrates the internal organs, affects the shoulder, elbow, knee and other joints in which degenerative pathologies develop. The nonequilibrium, disturbed state of the regulatory systems “wind” (nervous system), “mucus” (lymphatic and endocrine systems), “bile” (digestive system) has a strong effect on the weakening of human immunity, contributing to the onset and development of joint diseases.

Inflammatory processes in the shoulder are often the result of the disease “heat”, which is caused by the predominance of the bile dosha (vital principle). Excess “Yang” energy can be triggered by irritability, envy, aggression, malnutrition of the patient.

Factors contributing to the appearance of sharp pain in the shoulder joint include

  • Hypodynamia
  • Excessive exercise
  • Shoulder injury
  • Impaired posture
  • Metabolic problems

Is it possible to stop the pain with Tibetan medicine

– Acupuncture quickly relieves pain, eliminates swelling and inflammation, restores the functional mobility of the shoulder joint

– Acupressure of the collar zone stimulates the body’s immune forces, triggering a self-healing mechanism

– Vacuum therapy activates metabolic processes, improves innervation and nutrition of tissues

– Moxotherapy is ideal for restoring heat and energy balance

– Stone therapy tidies up the nervous system, expels excess “cold”

– “Hormé” compresses restore working ability to the shoulder, strengthen immunity, drive cold out of the body

It will quickly relieve pain, remove swelling and inflammation, and restore functional mobility of the shoulder joint

Stimulates the body’s immune forces by triggering a self-healing mechanism

Activates metabolic processes, improves innervation and nutrition of tissues

Ideal for restoring heat and energy balance

Tidies up the nervous system, expels excess “cold”

They restore health to the shoulder, strengthen the immune system, and others warm.

Shoulder pain

  • We treat acute shoulder pain without drugs
  • Relief in just 1-3 sessions!
  • Full course 7-10 treatments

Shoulder pain is one of the most annoying. The shoulder joint is constantly in motion. The simplest task – to pour tea for yourself and sit down to work – it becomes very difficult, because you need to take a cup (shoulder works), raise your hand and take out a box of tea from the cupboard (again it), pour, carry, pull the chair . All of these processes are involved shoulders, and if they hurt, even ordinary things become overwhelming. Now we will tell you how to identify the causes of pain in the shoulder joint, what treatment the doctor may prescribe and how to avoid discomfort in this part of the body.

What causes shoulders to hurt?

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body: no other is able to provide movement in so many directions. The spherical joint of the shoulder constantly “walks” along the lined cartilage, its movement is controlled by muscles, ligaments and nerve fibers that receive signals from both the brain and adjacent parts of the body.

“Minus” of the shoulder joint – it is not designed for a large load. Under normal conditions, the shoulder works as it should, but if you are professionally involved in sports, often lift weights or, on the contrary, move a little, overloads or injuries lead to the development of inflammatory processes and pain. The shoulder is also characterized by “reflected pain” – when the causes of unpleasant sensations lie, for example, in the spine or heart.

If a cause-and-effect relationship does not raise questions with injuries (he fell — hit, lifted weights — “pulled” his shoulder), then with diseases it’s more complicated. A lot of muscles, ligaments, tendons work in the shoulder, and inflammation can begin in each of them. In this case, the pain is localized in the joint, and can spread higher or lower. We list several diseases that can manifest discomfort in the shoulder.

  • Arthritis and arthrosis of the shoulder joint. Cartilage is destroyed in the joint – this may be due to wear (old age, constant stress), inflammation or injury; bad habits and malnutrition also play a role. The development of the disease also depends on which hand is leading: if the patient is right-handed, arthritis of the right hand more often occurs.
  • Periarthritis. A common disease that differs from arthritis in that it affects the tissues around the joint. Up to 80% of patients complaining of shoulder pain receive a diagnosis of periarthritis.
  • Osteochondrosis. Pain occurs due to degenerative processes and inflammation in the cartilage. Excessive as well as insufficient physical activity leads to the development of the disease. Athletes, movers, and lovers of “couch” rest suffer from discomfort in the shoulder caused by osteochondrosis.
  • Myalgia, muscle pain. It occurs with overstrain, stress, severe physical exertion, infectious diseases.
  • Myocardial infarction. If severe pain in the left shoulder is accompanied by pain in the chest, and you know that you have a tendency to cardiovascular disease – call an ambulance.
  • Neoplasms. Discomfort can be caused by a benign or malignant tumor.
  • Liver disease. Another example of reflected pain: liver problems can manifest as discomfort in the right shoulder.

Pain may also have genetic background. Mutations of genes lead to excessive joint mobility or other changes in it, as a result of which a pain syndrome develops.

What kind of pain?

Pain can be classified not only by intensity (strong, sharp, sharp, aching, weak), but also by localization (in the right shoulder, in the left, it gives to the elbow, back, neck, hand). Depending on this, the doctor will determine the causes of the problem and offer treatment.

  • “Frozen shoulder” – the pain is felt when the arm is moved to the side and raised up, while rotating. Movements are difficult, the nature of the pain is aching, then sharp; difficulties arise even with simple actions that require raising hands. Such symptoms indicate the presence of periarthritis. The pain is felt especially strongly at night. In advanced cases, the shoulder cannot be moved, the hand cannot be raised, taken back, or turned; a seal is felt in the joint.
  • Muscle pain, aggravated by pressing, movement, weakness in the muscles. All these are signs of myalgia varieties: fibromyalgia, myositis, polymyositis. For these diseases, headache and nausea are also characteristic.
  • If you get tired quickly, the pain in the shoulder joint worsens at rest, you want to press the shoulder closer to the chest, arm movements are difficult, the skin on the shoulder is colder and bluer than everywhere – this is osteochondrosis. Possible changes in blood pressure, a crunch is heard in the joint.
  • The shoulder aches and “shoots”, the hand goes numb up to the hand, physical exertion increases discomfort – like plexitis, damage to the nerve plexus. It is necessary to begin treatment as soon as possible, otherwise the disease will also affect the optic nerves, and in the final stage, paralysis of the arm is even possible.
  • Acute pain, which becomes more intense with movement and over time – tendonitis, damage to tendons.

With physical exertion, many diseases progress faster, so pain is often localized in the right shoulder joint – since most people use their right hand more often than their left. But there are diseases for which pain in a certain shoulder is characteristic.

  • Pain in the left shoulder joint may be a sign of myocardial infarction, if the general condition worsens: severe pain, trembling, arrhythmia, fainting is possible. If it hurts at the same time in the left shoulder and chest, the pain intensifies with physical exertion and subsides during rest – this is angina pectoris, the heart does not receive enough oxygen, you need to consult a cardiologist.
  • Pain in the right shoulder can “report” about liver pathology: cholecystitis, cholelithiasis. In this case, discomfort is also felt in the right hypochondrium.

Unpleasant sensations in the shoulder joint in the absence of injuries and inflammatory processes indicate diseases of the internal organs. If the initial examination did not show pathologies of the shoulder joints themselves, it is necessary to continue diagnostic procedures, since pain is a clear signal that something is wrong in the body.

How to understand what are the causes of discomfort in the shoulder?

Determine where the pain is localized, whether it is concentrated in the shoulder joint or spreads towards the neck, elbow, chest. What kind of pain do you feel – sharp, sharp, shooting, drilling? Does something else hurt along with my shoulder? Is the temperature elevated? This information will help you approximately imagine what your body has encountered, but you should consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

A specialist will examine you, listen to your complaints, send you for a blood test, MRI and other examinations to identify the causes of the discomfort, and only then prescribe treatment. It is better to refrain from self-diagnosis.

How is shoulder pain treated in the East?

Oriental medicine specialists use an integrated approach: they relieve pain with the help of acupuncture and injections of homeopathic remedies, relax tense muscles and remove nerve pinches by massage and manual therapy, warm them up with stone and moxotherapy, and if necessary, apply hirudotherapy – treatment with medical leeches. The doctors of our clinic are trying to do without potent drugs, helping the body cope with the disease on its own, but if medical support is really needed, you will get all the necessary prescriptions. After the first visits to the clinic, the pain will go away, and then its causes will go away.

Should I self-medicate?

At home, only the effects of the disease can be treated. Warming up, compress, massage can reduce pain and swelling, but if the inflammatory process has begun, it will continue. Symptomatic therapy makes sense when the body is strong enough to cope with the disease on its own. Even in this case, it is better to contact the doctors so as not to waste energy in vain. You will need the body’s resources in order to work fruitfully and have a good rest, and the doctor prescribes the treatment better.

How to avoid shoulder pain?

Watch your physical activity. If it is monotonous or it is not at all – take breaks and warm up, stretch, try not to spend a lot of time in the same pose. If you are involved in sports, consult with a trainer on how to plan your workout so that your arms and shoulders do not suffer from the same monotonous exercises. Watch your posture. Where possible – replace the bag with a backpack that evenly distributes the load on the shoulders. The pillow you are sleeping on should be comfortable. These simple rules will not save you from possible shoulder pain, but will reduce the likelihood of its occurrence.

Morozov Georgiy

Georgy Morozov, rheumatologist. For more than 20 years, he has been involved in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of joint diseases.