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Learn about your dull, achy shoulder pain, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your dull, achy shoulder pain from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Dull, Achy Shoulder Pain Checker

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Your Dull, Achy Shoulder Pain May Also be Known as:
Achy shoulder pain
Achy deep shoulder pain
Dull shoulder pain
Dull deep shoulder pain

Top 5 Dull, Achy Shoulder Pain Causes

  1. 1.Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis of the Shoulder)

    Adhesive Capsulitis or "Frozen shoulder" is when the shoulder is painful and loses motion because of inflammation.

    You should go see your primary care doctor, who can diagnose your shoulder pain with a physical exam (x-rays aren't necessary). Treatment is pain management (NSAIDs), physical therapy, and injected corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in the shoulder.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous shoulder pain, stiff shoulder, dull, achy shoulder pain, shoulder pain that gets worse at night, difficulty moving the shoulder
    Symptoms that always occur with frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder):
    stiff shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Rotator Cuff Tear

    The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of the upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. A rotator cuff injury (tear) can cause a dull ache in the shoulder, which often worsens when sleeping on the involved side.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will coordinate care with a muscle and bone specialist (orthopedic surgeon). Treatments for rotator cuff tears vary depending on the severity of the tear, but usually involve rest, over-the-counter pain medication, steroid injections, physical therapy, and surgery in some cases.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, dull, achy shoulder pain, difficulty moving the shoulder
    Symptoms that always occur with rotator cuff tear:
    shoulder pain from an injury, pain in one shoulder, shoulder pain from overuse
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Dull, Achy Shoulder Pain Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having dull, achy shoulder pain.

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  3. 3.Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

    Impingement syndrome is a common shoulder condition seen in aging adults. The tendons of rotator cuff muscles, whose action is to rotate the arm such such as during a tennis swing, pass in a narrow space between two bones in the shoulder. When the space becomes too narrow, which can happen as a result of an overuse injury, pain may develop as the tendons rub against the bones.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will coordinate care with a muscle and bone specialist (orthopedic surgeon). Treatments for impingement syndrome involve rest, over-the-counter pain medication, steroid injections, physical therapy, and surgery in rare, serious cases.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, dull, achy shoulder pain, shoulder pain that gets worse at night, difficulty moving the shoulder, shoulder pain from overuse
    Symptoms that always occur with rotator cuff tendonitis:
    pain in one shoulder
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Biceps Tendon Rupture

    The biceps is the muscle in the front of the upper arm. Its main action is to flex the arm. The biceps muscle collects in a tendon that inserts into the radius (one of the bones of the forearm). Sometimes, if lifting something heavy or rapidly putting weight on the arm, the biceps tendon may pull away from the bone. Biceps tendon ruptures are classified as either partial or complete ruptures, depending on if the tendon pulled away only somewhat, or completely.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will coordinate your care with a muscle and bone specialist (orthopedic surgeon). The treatment for biceps tendon rupture is surgery.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, pain in the front of the shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, dull, achy shoulder pain, shoulder pain that gets worse at night
    Symptoms that always occur with biceps tendon rupture:
    pain in the front of the shoulder, pain in one shoulder
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Biceps Tendonitis

    The biceps is the muscle in the front of the upper arm. Its main action is to flex the arm. The beginning of the muscle is a tendon that passes in front of the shoulder. Problems with the tendon can arise due to impingement (where the tendon gets compressed by surrounding structures) or inflammation due to overuse of the shoulder. People with this condition experience a deep, throbbing ache in the front of the shoulder.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will coordinate care with a physical therapist. First-line treatments for this condition involve rest from activity, physical therapy, and over-the-counter pain medication.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, pain in the front of the shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, dull, achy shoulder pain, shoulder pain that gets worse at night
    Symptoms that always occur with biceps tendonitis:
    pain in the front of the shoulder
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Dull, Achy Shoulder Pain

  • Q.How severe is your shoulder pain?
  • Q.How long has your shoulder pain been going on?
  • Q.How would you explain the cause of your shoulder pain?
  • Q.Can you fully move your shoulders around?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our dull, achy shoulder pain symptom checker.

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Dull, Achy Shoulder Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced dull, achy shoulder pain have also experienced:

    • 22% Pain in One Shoulder
    • 5% Shoulder Pain
    • 4% Shoulder Popping
  • People who have experienced dull, achy shoulder pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 37% Over a Month
    • 23% Less Than a Week
    • 18% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced dull, achy shoulder pain were most often matched with:

    • 53% Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
    • 7% Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis of the Shoulder)

Dull, Achy Shoulder Pain Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having dull, achy shoulder pain.

Take a quiz