Understanding Shoulder Pain: A Comprehensive Diagnosis Chart

Understanding Shoulder Pain: A Comprehensive Diagnosis Chart

by | Apr 1, 2024 | Blog

Shoulder pain can significantly affect your daily life, making simple tasks like reaching overhead or behind your back difficult and painful. This blog aims to provide you with a detailed shoulder pain diagnosis chart to help you understand the potential shoulder pain causes and when to seek professional help.

Shoulder Anatomy 101

Before diving into the diagnosis chart, let’s briefly review the shoulder’s anatomy. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that allows a wide range of motion. It consists of three main shoulder bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). The joint is surrounded and supported by a complex system of muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Rotator Cuff Pain Location Diagram

Central to many shoulder issues is the rotator cuff, a critical assembly of muscles and tendons that provide stability and facilitate the wide range of motion of the shoulder, including external rotation of shoulder. Understanding the rotator cuff’s anatomy and functions is essential in diagnosing and treating shoulder pain effectively.

Rotator Cuff Pain Location Diagram - Lee Chiropractic

Shoulder Pain Diagnosis Chart

For those experiencing shoulder discomfort, pinpointing the exact location of the pain is a vital step towards healing. The rotator cuff pain location diagram serves as a valuable tool in identifying the affected area, thereby guiding the appropriate course of treatment. This diagram, along with a detailed shoulder pain diagnosis chart offering a clear visual aid to better understand your symptoms.

Shoulder Pain Diagnosis Chart - Lee Chiropractic

Common Shoulder Pain Causes

Shoulder pain can arise from various issues, ranging from acute injuries to chronic conditions. The diagnosis often depends on the pain’s location, intensity, and the activities that exacerbate it. Below is a simplified diagnosis chart categorizing common shoulder pain causes:

Acute Injuries

  • Rotator Cuff Tears: Sharp pain in the shoulder area, particularly when lifting the arm. Pain may be accompanied by weakness and decreased range of motion.
  • Shoulder Dislocation: Intense pain following an injury, with visible deformity and inability to move the shoulder.
  • Fractures: Severe pain and swelling following a trauma. Movement is significantly limited.

Overuse Injuries

  • Tendinitis: Dull ache deep in the shoulder, exacerbated by specific movements. It often results from repetitive activities.
  • Bursitis: Swelling and pain in the shoulder, especially when pressing on the area or moving the shoulder in certain ways.
  • Impingement Syndrome: Pain when lifting the arm sideways or in front. Often occurs alongside tendinitis or bursitis.

Degenerative Conditions

  • Osteoarthritis: Gradual stiffness and pain in the shoulder, worsening over time. Common in older adults.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Chronic inflammation causing pain, swelling, and stiffness in the shoulder.
  • Frozen Shoulder: Increasing stiffness and pain in the shoulder, leading to severely restricted movement.

Other Causes

  • Referred Pain: Pain in the shoulder that originates from another area of the body, such as the neck or heart.
  • Infections: Rare, but can cause severe pain, swelling, and fever.

Knowing When It’s Time to Consult a Chiropractic Professional for Your Shoulder Pain

If your shoulder pain persists or significantly interferes with your daily activities, it’s crucial to seek professional advice. It’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional if you experience:

  • Persistent or worsening pain
  • Inability to use the shoulder or carry objects
  • Intense pain at night or while resting
  • Sudden swelling or deformity
  • Pain between shoulder blades

Lee Chiropractic specializes in diagnosing and treating shoulder-related issues. Our approach combines chiropractic care with personalized exercises and lifestyle modifications to address the root cause of your pain.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A shoulder pain chiropractor will typically perform a physical examination, ask about your symptoms and medical history, and may order imaging tests like X-rays, MRIs, or ultrasounds to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment options vary widely depending on the cause but may include rest, physical therapy, medications, or surgery.


Understanding the potential causes of your shoulder pain is the first step toward getting the right treatment and relief. While this shoulder pain diagnosis chart can guide you, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Remember, early intervention can prevent more serious problems and help you return to your daily activities without pain.

Contact Lee Chiropractic Today

Shoulder pain doesn’t have to be a part of your life. With the right care and intervention, you can return to your daily activities without discomfort. Contact Lee Chiropractic at (949) 552-2100 to schedule your consultation. Let us help you navigate through your shoulder pain with expert care and comprehensive support.