Causes of Shoulders Popping, Cracking or Clicking
Tight Muscles Are Causing Tendons to Run Over Bone
The 4 rotator cuff musles – Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres, Subscapularis and the other supportative musculature of your entire shoulder girdle could be tight. This can cause the entire biomechanics of your shoulder to be throw off and cause compensations, popping/cracking/clicking and in the end, pain. The only way to know is with a good physical examination.
Tendinitis Is Causing Inflammation
The main tendon that causes shoulder issues is the Supraspinatus tendon. Chronic overuse and repititive movements can cause it to get inflammed and mad, which can causes popping/cracking/clicking and even pain.
Your Ligaments Are Loose
The shoulder is a super complex joint. It has the greatest range of motion out of all of our joints. It’s held in place by a bunch of muscles (your rotator cuff) and a whole lot of ligaments. Just like a rubber band can get overstretched, so can your ligaments. We call this ligament laxity. If your ligaments are loose or lax, then your shoulder can pop/crack/click and hurt.
You Have a Labral Tear or Rotator Cuff Tear
There are a couple areas in your shoulder that over time, can get worn down, weak and even tear. This can cause weakness, pain, and even popping/clicking and cracking. The good news is that most tears are not full thickness. That means they ARE NOT surgical issues and non-invasive options can help them to heal.
Should I See a Doctor When My Shoulder Pops?
The first thing you need to do is find the right type of doctor. If you go to an orthopedic surgeon to get things checked out, don’t be surprised when their only solution is surgery. Here’s what your visit will look like: If you’re lucky you’ll get a quick physical exam, then you’ll go get an X-Ray and MRI. Then in a few weeks you’ll meet with the doc again, who will offer you anti-inflammatories, a steroid injection and maybe surgery. Most shoulder issues don’t need surgery. Anti-infmammatories don’t fix anything and steroid injections like cortisone make shoulders weaker and speed up degeneration and arthritis.
A better option is to go to a non-surgical specialist (like Dr. Josh Hanson in Tampa, FL) who can use tools like a good physical exam and non-invasive & non-surgical tools like orthopedic acupuncture, dry needing and/or prolotherapy.
What should I do?
As always, you can fill out the form on this page to get a call from me to see if I can help. I treat shoulders every single day. I’ve spent the last 4 years treating the shoulders of pitchers and baseball players who make $20 million a year, so I’m pretty confident that I can help most shoulder issues as long as there isn’t a full thickness tear.
Reach out with an email at email@example.com or fill out the form on this page!