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Shoulder Pain – Cancer

Shoulder pain is common but cancer as a cause of shoulder pain is very uncommon. While lung cancer does not show any symptoms in 25% of patients who are diagnosed, it can present as shoulder pain and pain down the arm. Further information on shoulder pain is available at NHS Choices and Arthritis Research UK.

Shoulder pain is much more commonly due to neck pain problems, upper back pain problems, impingement, bursitis, frozen shoulder or rotator cuff tears. A physiotherapist can help with diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions and would refer you to a doctor should there be any suspicion of a serious underlying cause for your pain.

People commonly complain of right shoulder pain or left shoulder pain as the changes which occur in the discs, joints and muscles of the shoulder region are often not symmetrical. When these changes become painful they then show up as pain on one side or another.

Shoulder muscle pain is also proposed as a common cause due to the poor postures typically held by people for long periods at desks and in front of computers. Shoulder pain (trapped nerve) problems can be very severe and keep the person up at night for several days, this being a similar problem to sciatica in the leg (a nerve root impingement). Frozen shoulder pain relief may come from physiotherapy, steroid injections, manipulation under anaesthetic or operation.


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