As a former athlete, one thing that I have had to deal with is shoulder pain. I was a wrestler, and I remember times that I would go into a meet and not be able to lift one of my arms because my shoulders hurt so bad. I found out that a lot of things can cause shoulder pain, and it does not necessarily have to be anything physical or some type of injury. Once I realized what types of things can cause it, I was able to deal with the pain a lot easier.
One of the first injuries I ever sustained in high school was a torn rotator cuff. That was shoulder pain like I never imagined I could endure. I really could not do anything when I had that injury, including work out, wrestle or even so much as comb my hair without enduring intense physical pain. I finally got it operated on by a specialist, and after several months and numerous sessions of physical therapy, I was able to get over that pain. Trust me, though, if it is a torn rotator cuff, you'll know!
Another thing that can cause shoulder pain is kind of at the opposite end of the spectrum, and that is too much stress. I know that when I am really stressed out, I will sometimes feel like my shoulders are extremely tight and sore, and I will have to ask my wife to give me a massage to alleviate the pain. I can always tell when it is shoulder pain brought on by stress because it does not all come on at once. It develops over the course of the day and it is worst at night!
There are several other factors that can cause shoulder pain, such as overuse of the shoulder muscles, sleeping in an awkward position or not having an ergonomic work station at the office. This last one can cause a lot of other types of pain and discomfort as well. These things are usually treatable with some simple over-the-counter medicines and rest, and they usually do not require a trip to the doctor. I have experienced all of them, and while unpleasant, they are not the worst things one can have.
Shoulder pain can take many shapes and forms, and most of the time is only temporary. The most important thing is to see how long it lasts, and if it continues for more than a couple of days, have it checked out by a doctor. If it is a serious injury, it is something to get checked out earlier rather than later.