Skip to content
Call to Schedule (972) 899-3473

Understanding Common Causes of Shoulder Pain in Older Adults

Understanding Common Causes of Shoulder Pain in Older Adults

As we age, our bodies go through various changes that can impact our overall health and well-being. One of the most common issues among older adults is shoulder pain. Whether it’s due to injury, arthritis, or wear and tear, shoulder pain can be a major source of discomfort and limited mobility. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most common causes of shoulder pain in individuals over the age of 55 and offer tips for preventing and treating it.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that help stabilize the shoulder joint. As we age, these structures can become weaker and more susceptible to injury. Rotator cuff injuries are a common cause of shoulder pain in older adults and can range from mild strains to complete tears. Symptoms may include pain, weakness, and difficulty lifting or moving the arm.

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition in which the shoulder joint becomes stiff and painful. It typically develops slowly over time and can be caused by injury, surgery, or a medical condition such as diabetes. Frozen shoulder is more common in older adults, particularly women. Symptoms may include pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion.

Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement occurs when the tendons and bursa in the shoulder become compressed or pinched, causing pain and inflammation. This condition can be caused by overuse, repetitive overhead movements, or poor posture. Older adults may be more prone to shoulder impingement due to wear and tear on the joint over time. Symptoms may include pain when reaching overhead or behind the back, weakness, and stiffness.


Arthritis is a common condition that affects the joints and can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. There are several types of arthritis that can affect the shoulder joint, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Older adults are more likely to develop arthritis due to the natural aging process and wear and tear on the joints over time. Symptoms may include pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited range of motion.

Preventing and Treating Shoulder Pain

While shoulder pain can be a frustrating and uncomfortable issue, there are steps you can take to prevent and treat it. Here are a few tips:

  • Exercise regularly to maintain strength and flexibility in the shoulder joint.
  • Use proper posture and ergonomics when performing daily activities, such as lifting or reaching.
  • Avoid overuse of the shoulder joint and take breaks when performing repetitive movements.
  • Apply ice or heat to the affected area to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
  • Seek the guidance of a physical therapist for targeted exercises and stretches to alleviate shoulder pain and improve mobility.

In conclusion, shoulder pain is a common issue among older adults, but it’s not inevitable. By understanding the common causes of shoulder pain and taking steps to prevent and treat it, you can maintain shoulder health and mobility as you age. If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, don’t hesitate to seek the advice of a physical therapist who can provide personalized treatment and guidance.


Larry Hernandez

On Point Movement And Performance

"We Help Active Adults And Athletes Get Back To Their Favorite Workouts And Activities Without Pain Killers Or Surgery"