Shoulder pain can have many different causes because there are multiple bones, muscles, and tendons in the area that can be injured. The key to your treatment is to first determine what is wrong. This will require a physical exam by a physician. If you are having trouble lifting your arm above your head, you may have a problem with your rotator cuff. This type of problem most often can be handled by physical therapy and exercises. Major injuries to the rotator cuff sometimes require surgery. Another part of the shoulder which can cause problems is the cartilage in the joint. Small tears in this cartilage can cause significant amounts of pain. Finally, pain in the back or in the neck can be referred to the shoulder making it seem like the shoulder pain is the biggest problem.
The best first step for you to take is to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician
. He or she can perform a comprehensive physical exam on your shoulder and determine where the problem is (joint, rotator cuff, or other). If it is a problem with your rotator cuff, then you may benefit initially from physical therapy and pain relief from Acetaminophen or an anti-inflammatory (which ever your doctor
chooses). You may eventually warrant a referral to an orthopedic surgeon