Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


My neighbor's been complaining of shoulder pain off and on for years now. Seems like most people I know with shoulder pain have it for a few days and it goes away. Could there be something seriously wrong with my friend?


Whereas 80 percent of adults have back pain that goes away, a much higher number have shoulder pain that doesn't go away. The shoulder is more likely than any other joint to have chronic pain. Pain can last anywhere from six to 18 months or longer.

Most people seem to learn to live with it and don't seek medical help. Or they see their doctor one time and don't go back when it doesn't get better.

Yet studies show that early treatment can make a difference. The shorter the symptoms last, the better chances are for a good outcome. The cause of the problem can make a difference, too. Someone with shoulder pain from a minor injury is more likely to have a good result than someone with major trauma.

Maybe it's time your neighbor went to see the doctor again (or for the first time). Perhaps having someone like yourself to go with him or her would make a difference. Suggest the idea and see if you can get the ball rolling.

Karen A. Ginn, PhD, and Milton L. Cohen, MD. Conservative Treatment for Shoulder Pain: Prognostic Indicators of Outcome. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. August 2004. Vol. 85. No. 8. Pp. 1231-1235.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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