Health blog

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

April 5th, 2020
Shoulder pain when moving arm across body

We rely on our shoulders for an extremely 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 professional help. 

To take a more active role in your search for treatment, learning about potential causes of shoulder pain can help. This can allow you to be more engaged with health care providers 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, these could be the cause

Everyone is different, and no two injuries are exactly the same. 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 he or she may identify include: 

  1. 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 reinjury.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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 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. 

Physical therapy for 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. 

To schedule an initial appointment, contact us today.