Frequently Asked Questions about the Shoulder

Did I separate my shoulder?

Shoulder separation can happen after a traumatic blow or fall to the shoulder. Some symptoms include an onset of pain and swelling in the area after the injury. You may also have a bump on the top of your shoulder caused by the tearing of the AC ligament and dislocation of the clavicle. It will also be difficult to move or rotate your shoulder. Consult a medical professional immediately if you see the signs of a separated shoulder.

Did I tear a muscle or ligament in my shoulder?

You may experience tenderness and swelling if you have strained a muscle in your shoulder. A tear will typically cause sudden and sharp pains when you try to move your shoulder and may persist.

What are exercises for a shoulder injury?

Exercises for a shoulder injury include ones that help increase range of motion and others that help regain strength. ROM exercises include a shoulder hang pendulum, assisted abduction, assisted flexion, wall crawls and more. Shoulder strengthening exercises include elastic band rows, resistance flexion and abduction and more. Check out our list of shoulder rehab exercises for images and instructions.

Do I have a shoulder impingement?

Symptoms of a shoulder impingement include pinching, stiffness and pain in the shoulder which is exacerbated by lifting the arm above your head. A doctor will be able to diagnose you through an MRI, movement evaluation, or x-rays.

Can sleep cause shoulder pain?

Sleep tends to exacerbate existing shoulder injuries. Shoulder impingement can be felt worse at night while you are sleeping.

Can stress cause shoulder pain?

When you are stressed, your muscles increase in tension. Often times, stress is felt in the trapezius muscle which goes from your shoulder to your neck.

Can you move a dislocated shoulder?

A dislocated shoulder is often accompanied by sudden, sharp pain. Some patients report being unable to move the arm or shoulder at all or intense pain when trying to move the injured area.

Can you sprain your shoulder?

Yes, the shoulder a complex part of the body made up of various joints, bones, tendons and muscles. It is possible to sprain or strain your shoulder muscles from overuse.

What is the recovery time for shoulder surgery?

Recovery time for shoulder surgery depends on the type of surgery you have had and the severity of injury. Arthroscopy surgeries often have a faster recovery time than open surgery ranging from several weeks (4-8 weeks) to months (1-3 months) with rehab and physical therapy.

Where is the rotator cuff in the shoulder?

The rotator cuff is made up of a set of muscles and tendons that connect your upper arm bone to the shoulder blade.

What type of shoulder brace do I need?

Different shoulder braces support the shoulder differently. If you have a shoulder injury, it is best to find a shoulder support specific to your injury: rotator cuff braces, shoulder arthritis supports, shoulder dislocation braces, shoulder instability support, shoulder impingement braces, or shoulder (ac joint) separation braces. Still not sure? Check out our shoulder brace buying guide.

What is the recovery time for a dislocated shoulder?

Depending on the severity, it can take from 12-16 weeks for a full recovery.