Shoulder Pain Causes and How to Get Fixed

Shoulder Pain Causes and How to Get Fixed Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic

02 May Shoulder Pain Causes and How to Get Fixed

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Knowing the shoulder pain causes are and the potential solutions for them is the difference between:

Getting fixed …

Or not.

If you want to see a chiropractor, ask yourself, “What will an adjustment do for the CAUSE of my shoulder pain?”

If you want to see a physical therapist, ask yourself, “What will strengthening, electronic stim, and ultrasound do for the CAUSE of my shoulder pain?”

If you want to see a medical doctor, ask yourself, “What will oral steroids, an x-ray, or a cortisone shot do for the CAUSE of my shoulder pain?”

In our practice at Barefoot Rehab, we don’t offer treatment until we have a prioritized list of problems. Then, we focus on Problem #1 to deliver treatment that works. Treating Problems #2 and #3 before #1 when Problem #1 is the biggest priority is like investing to get diminished returns.

That’s what happened to our patient Tracey:


Similar to Tracey, you’re guaranteed to waste Time, Energy, and Money if you don’t focus all of your effort on Problem #1.

What is the #1 problem responsible for your shoulder pain?

Let’s find out.

A quick note: If your pain is inside of your wing bone (and close to your spine), it’s likely a neck problem, not a shoulder problem. Because I see people in practice at least weekly who think this, I’m addressing it here to save you from going down a rabbit hole you don’t need to go down.

The Most Common of All Shoulder Pain Causes Is …



It acts like glue inside your rotator cuff muscles and joint capsule.

Imagine that you had glue inside your muscles.

Would your muscle be tight with glue inside it?

Would your muscle be weak with glue inside it?

Of course it would.

You might even have been diagnosed with evil label of frozen shoulder. But lucky for you, you know about adhesion and can get it removed to fix your frozen shoulder.


It’s easy to perceive what adhesion is when you see a scar on someone’s body.

This scar looks exactly the same as adhesion under a microscope.

Treatment to remove the adhesion is quite easy by an expert. Below is a video of treatment to remove adhesion in the shoulder joint capsule.

Chronic Pain Sufferer’s Call-to-Action: If you have shoulder pain that isn’t going away, give us a call at Barefoot Rehab to start removing your adhesion today. 862-205-4847

What’s not to easy to perceive is that your body forms adhesion all over the body anytime you overuse muscles and don’t give them a chance to recover.

Guess what?

If you:

  • text,
  • type and sit at a computer for work,
  • are a human being and drive around …

… then you overuse and have significant adhesion in your neck and lower back. Guaranteed.

It’s only a matter of how much adhesion to be relevant given how old you are and how structurally damaged your spine is.

Pain Is a Sign You Need to Stop – Inflammation

If you’ve been using your injured body part through the injury, even if it gets better after you warm up or use it, then you should probably stop.

Do injured body parts need resting OR working environments to get fixed?

Resting, of course.

Continuing to use the injured body part is like adding gasoline to the fire.

How can using damaged tissues not get worse?pain-fire-alarm

Rest two weeks and see if it gets better.

If your shoulder pain gets 30% better, than 30% of your shoulder pain was caused by inflammation.

If your shoulder pain is still there 70%, then 70% of your shoulder pain is caused by something else.

If you contract your muscle and it hurts, you may have a tear

The more severe your pain is and the more you feel pain when simply contracting the muscle around your pain, the more likely it is that you have a tear.

The less severe the pain and the tighter your range of motion, the more likely your problem is adhesion.


Tears would be confirmed by MRI. In our office, we most often order arthrograms so we can determine if the labrum is a problem (discussed below).

Don’t bother getting an x-ray. They only show bones.

If you want to laugh, imagine watching me argue with health insurance companies when I suspect a tear, need an MRI authorization, and the doctor on the other line tells me we need an x-ray.

ME: Do x-rays show bone or soft tissue?


ME: If they don’t show soft tissue and I suspect a tear, why do I need an x-ray?

HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY: Because those are the rules.

ME: But the rules don’t help my patient figure out what’s wrong so they can find a solution for that problem?

And we have a circular conversation that ultimately, goes nowhere.

I digress.

Mid-range pain? Suspect labrum or joint damage

The shoulder is ball-and-socket joint similar to how a golf ball sits on a tee.

The very outer edge of the tee is cartilaginous and called the labrum.

When it tears, the shoulder no longer sits nicely in the socket.


If you bring your arms overhead and you have pain in the middle of the range of motion that goes away towards the end of your range, it’s extremely likely you have a labrum tear or cartilage degeneration in your joint.

Again, this would be confirmed by arthrogram.

Having a problem like this doesn’t mean you don’t have adhesion and can’t be helped with conservative care.

It just means that part of the reality of your shoulder pain includes the puzzle piece of permanent joint damage.

Below is Rob, a patient of ours who had 12 months of shoulder pain.  I didn’t think I could help Rob when we did the exam of his shoulder pain because he had pain in the middle of his range.

You can see how labored his motion is.

Fortunately, he was 80-90% better with treatment and was grateful to avoid surgery.

So, what is the cause of your shoulder pain?

Intuitively, we all know that trying to hit a screw with a hammer won’t work.

The problem (screw) requires the correct solution (screwdriver).


But it’s funny that we all try random tools for problems without diagnoses all of the time.

The longer your pain has lasted and the more intense it is, the more likely you need to see a musculoskeletal expert. When you do see an expert, you can expect results like this:

You can find the highest quality musculoskeletal doctor through Integrative Diagnosis.

speechbubblesSo, after sifting through three major shoulder pain causes, what do you think is responsible for your pain? What did you figure out?


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Dr. Chris Stepien, DC, Full-Body ID Certified, ART Certified, CSCS, and CrossFit Level 1 Certified, fixes your annoying and frustrating pains, even when it's been over 6 months and you've seen 3-5 other doctors or therapists without lasting relief Barefoot Rehab in Denville, NJ. And when you're sad, depressed, or not enjoying life, Dr. Chris wants to hug you. He invites you to reach out, no matter what your concern is. Barefoot Rehab is here to serve you.
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