Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain is common and can be caused by a number of conditions, including:

  • Rotator cuff dysfunction – Such as sub-acromial impingement, can cause pain in the shoulder or upper arm, particularly when lifting the arm, lying on it or using the affected muscles. Rotator cuff issues are often the result of repetitive overuse of the arm and shoulder during a sport or activity or the result of a shoulder injury. Age can also play a part.
  • Acromioclavicular joint pain – A joint on the tip of the shoulder where the collarbone and shoulder blade join. This can cause pain in the upper shoulder and also pain to radiate into the arm. Movement can be limited.
  • Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis – is the painful and gradual stiffening of the shoulder capsule (the tissue that surrounds your shoulder joint.) The shoulder can often become so stiff and painful that it limits your ability to use your arm in everyday activities.
  • Referred shoulder pain – A pain that is experienced in an area away from the actual injury or problem e.g. pain in shoulder which is usually referred from the neck or upper back.
  • Osteoarthritis – progressive wearing away of the cartilage of the joint leading to the two bones of the joint rubbing together causing pain. Patients who have had previous trauma or shoulder surgery are most likely to develop osteoarthritis in later life. Symptoms include swelling, stiffness, aching and sharp stabbing pains.
  • Shoulder instability – due to previous shoulder dislocation or excessive movement of the shoulder joint.


How can an Osteopath help?

  • Shoulder problems are often complex and can take a long time to resolve. An osteopath will work with you to try and understand the cause of your shoulder problem.
  • Depending on your age, fitness and the diagnosis we may use a variety of massage, rhythmical articulation and stretching techniques to try and improve the movement in your shoulder and reduce tension in any tight muscles.
  • Treatment is different in every individual. We may massage and loosen the joints of the neck, upper and mid back and shoulder blade area. Sometimes the low back and hips may need attention if we feel they are contributing to your shoulder pain.
  • We may recommend specific strengthening or loosening exercises. Advice on posture and looking at how you use your shoulder is important and may be contributing to your shoulder problem.
  • X-rays, scans or other tests may be required to make a diagnosis and we may refer you to your GP for any further treatment.