There can be many causes of pain in the shoulder. First, we must identify what structure is the painful one (muscle, tendon, ligament, joint, bursa, etc.) then we must find out the cause for it. Many times, the cause of shoulder pain is coming from a completely different area of the body. For example, most repetitive use injuries to areas such as the bicep or Rotator Cuff come from a scapula (shoulder blade) being restricted from excess tightness from lower muscles in the scapula and even the spine. It’s important to know your anatomy, know the function of the body and investigate the cause of breakdown.
The Rotator Cuff is comprised of four muscles that have both individual jobs in moving the arm and shoulder and a collective job where they all work together to hold the ball of the shoulder in the socket. Injury comes when one or more of those muscles is working harder than the other. This causes tightness from overuse and restriction in range of motion. A tight muscle is a weak muscle and these muscles can be difficult to stretch.
Bicep injuries can occur when the scapula (shoulder blade) and thoracic spine (mid back) are tight and restricting proper range of motion for the arm. We see this a lot in athletes that throw overhead.