As with most types of back pain, there are many different types of upper shoulder pain and each person can experience a slightly different set of symptoms. The pain can be experienced either in or surrounding the scapula (shoulder blade), within the joint itself, or be referred from other local areas. If the pain is within the shoulder joint itself then it could also be caused by a number of conditions. It would probably be worthwhile briefly describing the different components of the shoulder. Within the joint itself, the collarbone meets the humerus (the arm bone) and the shoulder blade. Tendons hold the various shoulder muscles onto the bones, and ligaments secure the bones together to ensure they remain in position.