Health blog

3 potential causes of shoulder pain when moving your arm across your body

February 5th, 2023
Shoulder pain when moving arm across body

We rely on our shoulders for a wide range of movements that we often take for granted. For example, whether you’re reaching over to grab an object on your desk or passing an object to someone sitting next to you, you may not think about the simple act of moving your arm across your body until it is inhibited. If you are suffering from shoulder pain when moving your arm across your body that doesn’t improve in a short period of time, it may be time to seek help from a health care professional. 

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To take a more active role in your search for treatment, learning about the potential causes of shoulder pain can help. This can allow you to be more engaged with your health care provider as you work together to seek a diagnosis. As you read this over, feel free to reach out to us with any questions or if you’d like to learn more.

If you are dealing with shoulder pain when moving your arm across your body, this could be the cause

Moving the arm across the body requires coordinated action between a number of muscle groups and connective tissue, including the rotator cuff, scapular muscles, deltoids, pectoral muscles and others. If you are experiencing shoulder pain when performing this movement, you should have your shoulder checked out by a qualified professional, such as a physical therapist. 

Potential causes they may identify include:

  • Muscle strains — Whether due to repetitive motion or excessive force, the muscles in and around our shoulders can become strained. While this type of injury is minor, it should still be cared for properly in order to avoid worsening or future re-injury.
  • Tendinitis — Tendons connect our muscles to bones, allowing for basic movement. If they become overused or inflamed, tendinitis can develop. Rotator cuff tendinitis is a particularly common form of this issue and may be a cause of shoulder pain when moving your arm across your body. 
  • Bursitis — This is a term for inflammation of the bursae, which are tiny, fluid-filled sacs that help allow for smooth joint motion. This condition happens frequently in the shoulder, leading to pain and a limited range of motion. 

People diagnosed with one of these injuries or conditions, as well as others, can benefit from physical therapy by a trained and licensed professional.

What are some treatment methods for relieving shoulder pain when you bring your arm across your body?

  • Ice and heat therapy — Using an ice pack or hot compress at home may help alleviate shoulder pain that occurs when you bring your arm across your body. It can be used as a short-term pain relief option and can reduce inflammation. Heat can also be used to release tension from the shoulder muscles.
  • Rest — If your pain is caused by inflammation or a shoulder injury, one of the best things you can do for it is to rest it. Consistently using your shoulder when it causes you pain could exacerbate your symptoms.
  • Physical therapy — Physical therapy can be used to rehabilitate shoulder injuries, minimize inflammation and reduce pain. Whatever the cause of the pain in your shoulder is when you move your arm across your body, a physical therapist is trained to identify and address the root cause. This method is a long-term relief method, which could provide better results for some than ice and heat therapy.

Find effective physical therapy for your shoulder pain

When you come to Rehab Access, one of our trained and licensed therapists can help you determine the cause of your shoulder pain when moving your arm across your body. From there, we can develop a personalized treatment plan designed to improve functioning through manual therapies and targeted exercises. Shoulder pain doesn’t have to put you on the sidelines of your life. 

We strive to make our services as convenient and flexible as possible. With multiple locations across the New Orleans region (Metairie, Belle Chasse, and Gretna), extended hours during the week, and same-day appointments available, we are dedicated to making sure you receive the care you deserve. 

Book Your Personal ConsultationCall Us: 504-370-1733