Don’t shrug off shoulder pain

Pain in this joint can curb your independence. Catch problems early, build strength, and avoid injury.

Image: © Barry Austin/Thinkstock

It's easy to take your shoulders for granted. You don't think about them when you put your arm through a sleeve or reach out for something. But weak or injured shoulders can limit your daily function and rob you of your independence. You may not be able to open a door, push up from a chair or a couch, or tuck in your shirt without wincing in pain.

"Shoulder pain is common among older adults. Studies suggest it occurs in up to 31% of adults," says Amy Devaney, a physical therapist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »