The shoulder has a wide and versatile range of motion. When something goes wrong with your shoulder, it hampers your ability to move freely and can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that has three main bones: the humerus (long arm bone), the clavicle (collarbone), and the scapula (also known as the shoulder blade). These bones are cushioned by a layer of cartilage. There are two main joints. The acromioclavicular joint is between the highest part of the scapula and the clavicle. The glenohumeral joint is made up of the top, ball-shaped part of the humerus bone and the outer edge of the scapula. This joint is also known as the shoulder joint.
The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the body. It moves the shoulder forward and backward. It also allows the arm to move in a circular motion, and to move up and away from the body. Shoulders get their range of motion from the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is made up of four tendons. Tendons are the tissues that connect muscles to bone. It may be painful or difficult to lift your arm over your head if the tendons or bones around the rotator cuff are damaged or swollen.
You can injure your shoulder by performing manual labor, playing sports, or even by repetitive movement. Certain diseases can bring about pain that travels to the shoulder. These include diseases of the cervical spine of the neck, as well as liver, heart, or gallbladder disease. You’re more likely to have problems with your shoulder as you grow older. It is especially common after age 60. This is because the soft tissues surrounding the shoulder tend to degenerate with age.