Shoulder conditions and the associated symptoms

Shoulder problems are fairly common and there are a number of shoulder conditions with associated symptoms.

We look at some of the conditions:

Shoulder impingement

Main symptoms:

  • Pain in the front of the shoulder and/or pain between the shoulder blades
  • Pain when performing overhead activities
  • Pain during night time
  • Weakness of the shoulder, difficulty performing daily activities, pain when participating in sport or afterwards – intermittently at first, becoming incessantly later.

Shoulder impingement usually occurs among people under the age of 40.

Rotator cuff disease

Main symptoms:

  • Pain experienced in the front of the shoulder, between the shoulder blades and/or down the arm, in severe cases it can spread into the hand
  • Weakness of the shoulder
  • Difficulty lifting objects
  • Difficulty reaching behind the back
  • Difficulty working in overhead positions
  • Pain at night.

Symptoms are normally progressive and an acute injury can seldom be reversed. Rotator cuff disease usually occurs among people under the age of 40.


Main symptoms:

  • Pain and tightness or stiffness of general joints
  • Loss of function and crepitus (friction between bone and cartilage) experienced in the shoulder joint
  • The rotator cuff muscles are normally also affected
  • Pain is experienced locally and can also spread into the arm and/or hand
  • Pain at night.

Osteoarthritis usually occurs among people over the age of 60.

Frozen shoulder

Main symptoms:

  • A gradual loss of function of the arm, accompanied by increasing pain
  • Loss of function of the arm in especially overhead and behind the back positions
  • Pain at night
  • Normally there is no specific injury that causes frozen shoulder, and the condition occurs mainly in patients with diabetes and hypothyroidism.

Frozen shoulder is usually classified in three stages: the pain and freezing stage; the frozen stage and the thawing stage.

It can take up to a year for full recovery.

Frozen shoulder is normally more prevalent in women than men. It usually occurs in women over 52 years of age and men over 55 years of age.

Return to newsletter