What Does Right Shoulder Pain in a Woman Mean?

Right shoulder pain in women can have various causes ranging from mild strains to serious medical conditions. Understanding the potential reasons for right shoulder discomfort can help determine when to seek medical care. Here is an overview of some common causes of right shoulder pain in women and when to see a doctor.

Muscle Strains

One of the most common reasons for shoulder pain is an injury or strain to the muscles around the shoulder joint. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint with a large range of motion. This mobility comes at the price of stability, making it prone to strains. Lifting heavy objects, sports injuries, poor posture, and even overuse from daily activities can cause muscle tightness or tears leading to shoulder pain.

The pain from minor muscle strains usually starts gradually and is described as aching or throbbing. Applying ice packs, taking anti-inflammatory medications, and resting the shoulder usually helps relieve discomfort from strains. See a physician if the pain is severe, radiates down the arm, or persists longer than a week.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint and help stabilize it. Rotator cuff tendinitis or tears are a common cause of shoulder pain. Repetitive overhead motions or aging can lead to inflammation and wear-and-tear on these tendons. Lifting heavy objects with arms extended can also damage the rotator cuff.

Symptoms of rotator cuff problems include pain when lifting or lowering the arm, weakness, and catching sensations. See a doctor for evaluation if pain persists for more than a few days or impedes daily activities. Rest, physical therapy, steroid injections, and sometimes surgery may be needed for treatment.

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, leads to thickening and tightening of the shoulder joint capsule. This restricts mobility and causes chronic stiffness and pain. The exact cause is unknown but may involve scar tissue formation. Diabetes, thyroid issues, and prolonged immobilization of the shoulder also increase risk.

Frozen shoulder develops gradually over weeks to months. The pain and stiffness may make it difficult to lift the arm overhead or perform personal care. See a physician for treatment options if the symptoms do not improve with rest, physical therapy, heat, and anti-inflammatory medications.


Osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint becomes more common with age. Years of wear and tear can cause breakdown of the cartilage cushioning the shoulder bones. Bone spurs and inflammation develop, leading to throbbing shoulder pain that is worse with activity. The pain may also occur at rest or at night.

Rheumatoid arthritis is another form of inflammatory arthritis that can affect the shoulder. Seek prompt medical attention for sudden, severe shoulder pain along with swelling and warmth. This could indicate an acute flare of rheumatoid disease. Doctors can prescribe medications to reduce inflammation and joint damage.

Referred Pain

Sometimes shoulder pain is due to a problem in another area like the neck, heart, or gallbladder. Pinched nerves in the neck can cause pain radiating down the shoulder and arm. Heart attacks and gallbladder disease may also cause shoulder pain. Pay attention to other symptoms and discuss ongoing shoulder discomfort with your physician to determine if the cause could be referred pain from a different source.

Right shoulder discomfort has many possible causes. Mild shoulder muscle strains may resolve with a little rest. Seek prompt medical attention for sudden, severe shoulder pain along with other symptoms like shortness of breath, which could indicate a medical emergency. Discussing shoulder pain with a doctor is crucial to get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.