You get broadsided at an intersection and slammed against the door. You expect your shoulder to hurt after that. You get tackled on the field and thrown to the ground. You can expect to feel pain. You misstep and fall on your arm. Again, you are not surprised when you feel pain. But, when you wake up one morning and you have massive shoulder pain, and for the life you, there seems to be no explanation for it, what then?

Everyday people suffer from unexplained shoulder pain. Often, it will resolve on its own with over-the-counter pain relievers and rest for a few days. When it does not, there are a few different issues you may be dealing with.

Referred Pain

Sometimes it can be difficult to identify exactly where the pain you feel is originating from. When you feel pain in one location that is originating from another, it is called referred pain. Issues with your cervical spine – the bones in your neck and the discs that support them – could be the source of your shoulder pain.


You body has fluid-filled sacs called bursae that cushion joints in the body. Located next to the tendons, they are found in the knees, hips, elbows and shoulders as well as smaller joints. They are filled with synovial fluid and work to reduce the friction between the tissues in the joints.

Bursitis is a condition in which the bursa becomes inflamed. This can happen with overuse of the muscles, injury and certain medical conditions such as arthritis. Certain activities may increase your risk. For example, if you love to garden, you may experience bursitis from time to time. Musicians, athletes and carpenters are also at a greater risk for bursitis episodes.

Rotator Cuff Issues

Deep in the shoulder are four important muscles that comprise the rotator cuff. When these muscles and the associated tendons are overused, they can become irritated and spark pain. The natural degenerative processes of aging can also add to problems with the rotator cuff. Repetitive activities including regular daily actions can cause irritation.

You may not always be able to trace your pain directly back to a particular incident. When the pain does not resolve, or if it is severe, intensifies or is recurrent, it is important to seek medical help. Get help from one of New York’s best orthopedic shoulder and knee surgeons. Contact Dr. Steven Struhl. Call today to schedule your consultation.