shoulder stiffness

There are a lot of people who are suffering from a stiff shoulder and shoulder pain. These pains may be the result of a shoulder condition, injury, or some other more serious problems. A person suffering from a stiff shoulder has decreased range of motion in their shoulders, even when they are assisted, and this is a very discomforting condition since it prevents the person affected in performing even the simplest of tasks. However, it is very fortunate that shoulder stiffness, for the most part, is an easy problem to treat. There are a number of individuals who have achieved their full range of motions through physical therapy or surgery.

Common Causes of Shoulder Stiffness

Shoulder pain causes great discomfort and severe pain for those people suffering from it. Patients who are suffering from shoulder stiffness experience dull, persistent, pain in the shoulder and it can also result to a decreased range of motion that can greatly affect the basic daily activities, and life of the individual.

This condition occurs as a result of various conditions, which may include trauma and arthritis. Stiffness can result from a shoulder injury, shoulder tendonitis and also general shoulder pain. Other causes may also include rotator cuff tendonitis and adhesive capuslitis. Adhesive capsulitis is commonly referred to as frozen shoulder, and this condition has an effect on the shoulder joint capsule region. The joint capsule lies underneath the rotator cuff and it covers the shoulder joints. This part of the shoulder can become inflamed and irritated, thus resulting in stiffness and pain. This condition does not have a particular known cause and it can occur at any given moment.

Another condition that causes shoulder stiffness is arthritis, wherein the cartilage wears away from the normal smooth cartilage surface of the joint and leaves a rougher surface. The rough surface makes movement painful and limited. Arthritis also results to bone spurs which can obstruct normal movements.

Shoulder injury or trauma can also cause stiffness, especially if it results to long term restricted shoulder movement, and this can come about after receiving surgery on your shoulder, whereby scar tissue begins to form around the affected area.


There are a lot of factors that can lead to shoulder stiffness. Each factor can lead to various symptoms and pains. However, the most common symptoms of shoulder stiffness are swelling, shoulder pain, bruising, or tenderness of the shoulder. Other noticeable symptoms of a stiff shoulder are arm numbness, arm weakness, or a deformed shoulder.


If you are suffering from any of the said symptoms, it is best to immediately seek a doctor or a physiotherapist so that your shoulder will be diagnosed properly. The treatment will depend on the underlying cause. However, treatments may include cold compresses, physical therapy, narcotic pain medications, non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory medications, surgery, and many more. Although self-medication can help prevent further complications, it is still advisable to immediately seek a doctor since self-medication also has its drawbacks.