Size – The larger the area of your shoulder pain, is better, because muscles in your shoulder stretches from your neck to your upper arm. Pain tends to radiate along the neck muscles and affect larger areas. Muscles heal easier & recover faster.
Color – Bruising around the outside, back and in your armpit is quite common after a muscle tear, because of the high concentration of blood vessels in your shoulder. These capillaries rupture & leak plasma that pools in your shoulder. Blue discoloration in your armpit is more concerning for it involves nerves running to your arm.
Swelling – Swelling is your body’s way of healing itself by sending cells to heal the tissue. More swelling could mean more tissue damage, however not all shoulder injuries swell. Injury to tissue that develops over a few weeks doesn’t swell, because the tissue trauma is continuous and repetitive, so your body stops the inflammatory reaction. A new injury on an old problem is also possible.
Area – Shoulder pain that you’re able to pinpoint is less severe. Sharp pain over a small area makes it easier to pinpoint structures near your pain. Vague, dull & deep shoulder pain takes longer to identify the root cause. Compensatory patterns, spasms and guarding develops, sometimes it takes a while to just get rid of those.
Motion & sore shoulder
Stiff – Shoulder stiffness followed by pain is regressing and getting worse. Seek help. Whereas pain followed by stiffness is a good sign of tissue healing. Scar tissue is hardening wound tissue that tends to shorten and pull on structures surrounding the injury site. This is more pronounced in muscle strains & tears, where the normal slide of muscles are restricted during a contraction.
Range of movement – Difficult moving your shoulder through its range is a big problem. A painful arch means it only takes tension over that specific range i.e Your shoulder is only painful when you lift it up the between 60 to 90 degrees. Shoulder pain over a smaller range of movement is not necessarily better. This may point to muscle tears combined with instability and likely some ligament injury. Pain only at the end of your range its less severe and easy to fix. When your shoulder pain stops movement completely and too painful to move you should definitely come see us as soon as possible.