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Left Shoulder Pain

Left Shoulder Pain

Facing unease in the left shoulder can substantially interfere with your daily routines. The shoulder, renowned for its wide range of movement in the arms and upper body, becomes notably troublesome when affected by pain, complicating basic activities such as reaching, lifting, and dressing. Left shoulder discomfort can stem from diverse potential causes, but accessible and effective remedies for relief exist.

If you're undergoing left shoulder pain and in search of relief in Aurora, don't look beyond Physical Therapy Advantage

Situated in Aurora, this leading establishment presents customized treatment strategies for diverse musculoskeletal issues, ensuring individualized attention for optimal recuperation. Grasping the subtleties of left shoulder discomfort is crucial in manoeuvring through its intricacies.

What’s Causing Your Left Shoulder Pain?

An integral aspect of understanding left shoulder pain involves unveiling its meaning: "What does left shoulder pain mean?" This question delves beyond the physical discomfort, exploring the potential emotional or systemic implications of shoulder pain. Some common explanations include:

Rotator Cuff Injury

Overuse can strain the group of muscles and tendons surrounding your shoulder joint. This group of muscles and tendons is called the rotator cuff. Rotator cuff tendinitis and tears are common sources of pain in left shoulder blade.


When the acromion bone rubs against the rotator cuff tendons, it causes irritation and pain, known as impingement. It often results from repetitive overhead motions.

Frozen Shoulder

Also called adhesive capsulitis, a frozen shoulder occurs when the connective tissue around the joint thickens and contracts, severely limiting mobility.


Osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint causes inflammatory pain, stiffness after rest, crepitus, and reduced range of motion.

Labral Tear

The labrum cartilage in the shoulder socket can tear from acute trauma or repetitive overhead motion, causing shoulder blade pain left side.


Partial or total dislocation of the shoulder joint results in severe pain and loss of function. It can lead to recurrent instability. 


Breaks of the humerus bone, scapula, or clavicle from injury cause acute, severe shoulder pain along with swelling and bruising.

Pinched Nerve

A compressed or irritated nerve root in the neck can radiate pain in left shoulder and upper arm.

Referred Pain

Diseases affecting the heart, lungs, or other structures can cause shoulder pain. Heart attacks often cause left arm pain.

Getting an accurate diagnosis from your doctor is crucial before starting any treatment for left shoulder pain. Rarely, left shoulder pain in women can signal a medical emergency like a heart attack or lung embolism requiring prompt care.

Treating Common Causes of Left Shoulder Pain

Left shoulder pain can manifest from diverse sources, prompting the vital question: "What causes left shoulder pain?". Addressing various sources of shoulder pain often begins with effective home management strategies, including rest, ice, over-the-counter (OTC) medication, and activity modification. Tailoring interventions to specific causes is essential:

  • Rotator Cuff Injury: Resting the shoulder for 1-2 days and applying ice packs help reduce inflammation. OTC anti-inflammatories aid in pain management, and gentle stretches can be initiated after a few days. A sling provides comfort if necessary.
  • Impingement: Anti-inflammatory medication mitigates swelling, while heat before and ice after exercise aids in relief. Avoiding repetitive overhead motions is crucial, and physical therapy exercises strengthen the rotator cuff and scapular muscles.
  • Frozen Shoulder: Prescription anti-inflammatories and moist heat precede gentle range of motion exercises. Specialized mobilization techniques from a physical therapist, coupled with gentle stretching devices, address the contracted capsule.
  • Arthritis: Anti-inflammatory medication, topical creams, and gentle range of motion exercises alleviate arthritis symptoms. Ice or heat provides additional relief as needed.
  • Labral Tear: Controlling pain with OTC anti-inflammatories and applying ice packs are initial steps. Immobilizing the shoulder in a sling is vital, and Shoulder Therapy Aurora focuses on strengthening muscles for stability.
  • Dislocation: Prompt medical attention is essential for proper joint realignment. Prescribed pain medication and immobilization in a brace prevent recurrent dislocations, with subsequent physical therapy restoring strength and mobility.
  • Fracture: Emergency medical care ensures proper fracture alignment. Prescribed pain medication and immobilization in a sling or brace protect the healing bone. Post-healing, Physical Therapy in Aurora IL rebuilds shoulder strength.
  • Pinched Nerve: OTC anti-inflammatories and heat alleviate nerve irritation. Massages and chiropractic or physical therapy treatments target tight muscles near the compressed nerve. Maintaining good posture reduces nerve pressure.

Consistency in-home treatment, coupled with timely follow-ups with a healthcare professional, is pivotal for effective shoulder pain relief. While left shoulder pain when breathing can occasionally signal a medical emergency, proactive management significantly contributes to overall recovery. 

If you want personalized assistance for your shoulder pain, consider reaching out to Physical Therapy Advantage in Aurora, where professionals can guide you through tailored interventions and support your journey to relief.

Home Remedies to Relieve Left Shoulder Discomfort

For those dealing with pain under left shoulder blade , integrating home self-care remedies can complement medical treatment. Prioritize rest, avoid strenuous activities, and limit repetitive motions. Ice therapy, with 15-minute applications of wrapped ice packs, eases pain and reduces swelling while avoiding skin contact. 

Heat application before gentle stretching enhances blood flow and muscle relaxation. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and acetaminophen provide relief by addressing inflammation and pain. Gentle massages ease muscle tension in the left area.

Utilize temporary assistive devices, such as slings or braces, to immobilize the shoulder and reduce strain on injured tissues. Improve posture by retracting shoulder blades to correct rounded shoulders, promoting an open chest. Integrate targeted stretches and low-resistance exercises gradually, enhancing flexibility and maintaining strength as initial shoulder blade pain left side woman and swelling subside. 

Patience is crucial, allowing several weeks for these home remedies alongside medical treatment to show significant improvement. If persistent symptoms endure, consulting with a doctor ensures comprehensive care and effective left shoulder pain management.

When to See a Physical Therapist  

A physical therapist's advice may be helpful if self-care measures for left shoulder discomfort aren't relieving it sufficiently. Physical therapists are experts in movement who assess and manage problems with the muscles, joints, and nerves.

Seeing a PT is a good idea if you have:

  • Limited mobility or stiffness that has not improved with stretching
  • Persistent shoulder pain lasting over a month  
  • Noticeable weakness, instability, or impaired function
  • Grating, popping, or shoulder clicking with movement
  • Numbness or tingling radiating pain in left shoulder and arm 
  • Several past shoulder dislocations or subluxations

A physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation of your shoulder’s mobility, stability, and function. They can identify limitations contributing to improper mechanics that result in pain.

Your PT will design a customized treatment plan that may include:

  • Specialized manual therapy techniques 
  • Joint mobilization and manipulation to improve restricted motion
  • Therapeutic exercises to strengthen weak rotator cuff and scapular muscles
  • Neuromuscular retraining for control and coordination   
  • Modalities like heat, ice, ultrasound, and TENS
  • Soft tissue massage and trigger point release
  • Posture correction
  • strategies and taping to stabilize the shoulder

You’ll attend PT 1-2x per week for 4-8 weeks alongside home exercises. If shoulder blade pain left side woman persists after completing physical therapy, your therapist may recommend additional medical testing or referral to an orthopedic specialist.

When Left Shoulder Surgery May Be Needed  

Even though non-surgical therapies are frequently successful in treating shoulder pain left side, surgical intervention becomes a possibility in some situations where non-surgical treatments are deemed insufficient. 

Extensive full-thickness tears in the rotator cuff, recurring shoulder instability and dislocations, persistent frozen shoulder despite thorough conservative treatment, advanced arthropathy with cartilage loss, notable bone spurs leading to impingement, and improperly healed fractures are potential scenarios warranting surgical intervention. 

In instances where conservative approaches prove ineffective in relieving symptoms of left shoulder disorders, surgical methods aim to tackle these complex situations and provide relief.

Common left shoulder surgeries include:

Arthroscopic Surgery

Small incisions allow the surgeon to insert a camera and tools to remove damaged tissue, release adhesions, and smooth frayed cartilage.

Open Shoulder Repair

A larger incision provides full visualization of the joint for procedures like rotator cuff repair and Bankart repair for instability. 

Total Shoulder Replacement

The upper arm bone head is replaced with a metal ball, and the socket is resurfaced with a polyethylene plastic insert to improve function.

Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

The socket and metal ball are switched to improve patient outcomes with rotator cuff tears. 


Removing a small section of bone can improve shoulder mechanics.

Postoperative recovery is a lengthy process, typically requiring several months of physical therapy to restore optimal motion and strength. Careful consideration of the advantages and potential drawbacks of surgery is recommended in consultation with your orthopedic specialist.


Ensure that left shoulder pain doesn't disrupt your quality of life. The skilled physical therapists at Physical Therapy Advantage possess the expertise to thoroughly evaluate your shoulder issues and devise a customized, evidence-based treatment strategy. 

Our approach combines manual therapy, specific exercises, pain relief techniques, and patient education to attain peak shoulder health.

If you are suffering from persistent left shoulder and upper back pain that has not improved with rest and home care, contact us today to schedule an initial appointment. We have two convenient Aurora locations and accept most major insurance plans. Let the knowledgeable PTs at Physical Therapy Advantage get you back to pain-free left shoulder mobility and function.

COVID-19 Update: Due to the continued COVID-19 concerns we wanted to update everyone on our current policies. We are still considered to be an essential healthcare provider, but as of January 1, 2023...