How Do I Know If My Shoulder Ache Is Serious?

Shoulder ache is a common problem, but…

It can be difficult to know when to seek medical attention. Some shoulder pain is mild and goes away on its own with rest and over-the-counter pain medication. However, other shoulder pain can be more serious and require medical treatment.

shoulder ache
  • Severe Pain: If your shoulder ache is severe, especially at night, it could be a sign of a more serious problem, such as a fracture or infection.
  • Difficulty Moving Your Shoulder: If you have difficulty moving your shoulder, it could be a sign of a torn ligament or tendon.
  • Swelling Or Redness: If your shoulder is swollen or red, it could indicate inflammation or infection..
  • Weakness: If your shoulder is weak, it could be a sign of nerve damage or a torn muscle.
  • Popping Or Clicking Sounds: If you hear popping or clicking sounds when you move your shoulder, it could be a sign of a torn ligament or tendon.

Here Are Some Other Things To Consider When Determining If Your Shoulder Ache Is Serious:

How long have you had the pain? If you have been experiencing shoulder aches for more than a few weeks, it is more likely that they are serious.

What makes the pain better or worse? If certain activities or positions make your shoulder ache worse, it is more likely to be serious.

Do you have any other symptoms? If you have other symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, or weight loss, it is more likely that your shoulder ache is caused by a more serious underlying condition.
If you are unsure whether or not your shoulder pain is serious, it is always best to err on the side of caution and see a doctor.

Treatment For Shoulder Ache

The treatment for shoulder discomfort will be determined by the source of the pain. Following are some basic treatments:

  • Rest: Avoiding activities that increases the shoulder ache is often the first step in treatment. Which means, if you are feeling some kind of stiffness or pain in your shoulder then do take some rest. 
  • Ice: Applying ice to the shoulder for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day, can help reduce inflammation and pain. However, make sure you are icing the shoulder without pressing on the pain too much. 
  • Over-The-Counter Pain Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help to reduce pain and inflammation. These medicines can reduce your pain for sometimes. 
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy exercises can help to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder and improve the range of motion. These exercises will ease your pain and help you move your shoulder freely. 
  • Corticosteroid Injections: Inflammation and pain are cured with the help of Corticosteroid injections. However, these injections should only be used sparingly, as they can have side effects.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair a torn ligament or tendon, or to remove bone spurs. Sometimes, when a shoulder ache is beyond imagination, surgery could be an option. 


Shoulder ache is a common problem, but it is important to seek medical attention if the pain is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms such as swelling, redness, weakness, or popping or clicking sounds. Early treatment can help to prevent long-term damage and improve your chances of a full recovery.

If you are experiencing shoulder ache, it is important to see a physiotherapist to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. Early treatment can help to prevent long-term damage and improve your chances of a full recovery.