Shoulder pain is extremely common across all age spectrums. Different *problems* arise in different age groups. As we age, our tissues change.
In children the cartilage of the shoulder is weaker than the rotator cuff of the shoulder. Therefore children rarely suffer rotator cuff injuries.
In adults the rotator cuff is weaker and more prone to injury.
Traumatic versus Overuse Shoulder Injuries
Acute trauma and chronic overuse injuries can affect the shoulder in both children and adults.
Children tend to suffer more traumatic injuries to the shoulder, than overuse injuries to the shoulder. The opposite is true in the adult shoulder.
Following trauma to the shoulder, children tend to suffer cartilage tears, labral tears (SLAP lesions) or instability (dislocations)— Children who pitch too often, play volleyball or swim will potentially suffer from overuse injuries such as inflammation of the tendons and muscles in the shoulder.
The most common source of shoulder pain in the adult is usually due to a lifetime of use… not necessarily overuse. Most adults with shoulder pain will have of one of the many rotator cuff disorders that exist.
- overuse tendonitis,
- degenerative tendinosis,
- a strain or
- tear of the rotator cuff.
- frozen shoulder
- dislocation or instability,
- rotator cuff tears, arthritis,
- calcific tendonitis and
- biceps tendonitis.
I elaborate in much more detail in this section of shoulder related disorders.
If you sustained an injury and your pain lasts more than a few days, or if it worsens, talk to your doctor. Many shoulder pain patients have difficulty sleeping at night—and this will usually precipitate a visit to a doctor sooner rather than later.
I will briefly discuss rotator cuff injuries in the next few sections. If you know you have a rotator cuff injury or tear, please click here to visit the Rotator Cuff discussion.