Symptoms A-Z

Swelling of Both Shoulders Symptom, Causes & Questions

Understand your swelling of both shoulders symptoms, including 6 causes & common questions.

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  1. 6 Possible Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics

6 Possible Swelling Of Both Shoulders Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced swelling of both shoulders. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition which causes inflammation of the joints. In most circumstances, psoriatic arthritis presents between the ages of 30 and 50 years and occurs after the manifestation of the symptoms of psoriasis, which is a disease of the skin. Psoriatic arthritis typically causes redness, swelling, pain, and stiffness of certain joints. Most commonly, the fingers and toes are affected and may appear "sausage-like." Psoriatic arthritis is predominantly a genetic disease but it can be activated by certain environmental triggers. Avoidance of these triggers could delay or prevent disease onset. Treatment includes symptom management with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroids. In more severe cases, other drugs to halt the disease progression such as methotrexate are used.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: shoulder pain, lower back pain, joint pain, upper back pain, hip pain

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Allergic reaction (not life-threatening)

When the body encounters a harmful substance, it responds with inflammation and swelling that can be protective. In many individuals, the body responds this way to substances that are not normally harmful, like foods or pollen. This is the basis of allergy, or Type 1 Hypersensitivity.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: swollen face, swollen lips, lip numbness, hives, red swollen bumps or patches with a pale center, lip redness

Symptoms that never occur with allergic reaction (not life-threatening): shortness of breath, throat itching

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Thoracic outlet syndrome

The "thoracic outlet" is the space on either side of the base of the neck where nerves, arteries, and veins travel beneath the collarbone. If these become compressed or damaged, the condition is called thoracic outlet syndrome or TOS.

The most common causes are trauma, such as a car accident or fall; and repetition or overuse, such as a sports injury.

Symptoms vary depending on the structures being compressed:

  • Neurogenic TOS affects the nerves. It is the most common form and creates numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the arms, hand, and fingers.
  • Vascular TOS affects the arteries and veins. It creates the same symptoms as neurogenic TOS as well as cold, pale hands and arms with weak pulse.

It is important to see a medical provider about these symptoms so that the damage does not become permanent.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, imaging such as x-ray or ultrasound, and sometimes nerve conduction and blood flow studies.

Treatment involves physical therapy, pain relievers, and sometimes surgery.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: pain in one shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, arm weakness, arm numbness, pain in one shoulder blade

Urgency: Primary care doctor

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Nephrotic syndrome

Nephrotic syndrome is a disorder of the kidneys that results in too much protein excreted into your urine. It is usually associated with damaged kidneys specifically damage to the kidneys' filters, called glomeruli.

Kidney damage and nephrotic syndrome primarily include albuminuria, or large amounts of protein in the urine; hyperlipidemia, which is higher than normal fat and cholesterol content in the blood; edema, which is widespread swelling; and hypoalbuminemia, which is a low level of albumin in the blood.

Edema often presents as weight gain, albuminuria is identified by( may also be experienced.

Treatments include medications to relieve symptoms and assess underlying conditions as well as possible lifestyle adjustments.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, weight gain, bilateral leg swelling

Symptoms that never occur with nephrotic syndrome: cut on the foot, recent cut or wound, swollen ankle, swelling of one leg

Urgency: Primary care doctor


Hives, or urticaria, are flat red welts that can appear anywhere on the skin and usually itch. Hives often occur as an allergic reaction to something eaten or something that has contacted the skin. Foods, medicines, and plants are common causes, but sun exposure, stress, infections, and autoimmune diseases have also been known to cause hives.

Symptoms include an itchy, stinging pink rash of slightly swollen skin. The rash may wax and wane in severity. Acute hives typically resolve within six weeks, but chronic hives can persist for months or years.

Hives often resolve on their own, especially in children. Otherwise, treatment for acute hives involves oral antihistamine medications to help relieve the itching and stinging. Chronic hives that do not improve with antihistamines may be treated additionally with corticosteroids, antibiotics, and other stronger medicines.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: red or pink, rough patch of skin, itchy rash, curved rash, insect bite or sting, hives, red swollen bumps or patches with a pale center

Symptoms that always occur with hives: red or pink, rough patch of skin

Urgency: Self-treatment


Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition most commonly caused by an allergic reaction. In anaphylaxis, two types of immune cells — mast cells and basophils — are suddenly activated and release numerous inflammatory substances that cause blood vessels to dilate and become leaky, which can lead to low blood pressure, swelling, and damage to organs.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis include itching, redness, and warmth in the form of hives, as well as itching or( as well as difficulty breathing and nasal congestion. Several other symptoms are also likely.

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. Treatment options will likely involve an epinephrine injection (same contents as in an EpiPen), followed by oxygen and IV fluids, other medications, and an action plan for possible future incidents.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: nausea or vomiting, headache, stomach bloating, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), being severely ill

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Swelling Of Both Shoulders

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Is your swollen area warm and red?
  • What is your body mass?
  • How would you explain the cause of your shoulder pain?
  • Any fever today or during the last week?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

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Swelling Of Both Shoulders Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced swelling of both shoulders have also experienced:

  • 10% Pain In One Shoulder
  • 6% Pain In One Shoulder Blade
  • 5% Pain In Both Shoulders

People who have experienced swelling of both shoulders were most often matched with:

  • 36% Allergic Reaction (Not Life-Threatening)
  • 36% Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • 27% Psoriatic Arthritis

People who have experienced swelling of both shoulders had symptoms persist for:

  • 33% Less than a week
  • 27% Over a month
  • 19% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Swelling Of Both Shoulders Symptom Checker

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