Shoulder pain

December 20, 2022

There are various causes of shoulder pain but there are a number of common conditions that Physiotherapy can help with.

One of the common causes of shoulder pain is obviously traumatic, such as a fall or sports injury. This can often damage the rotator cuff muscles, which are a group of muscles that hold the ball in the shoulder socket. They can get irritated or torn and also would become damaged if for example the ball came out the socket i.e. a shoulder dislocation. In traumatic shoulder injuries, it is often the rotator cuff that is damaged if a bony injury has been ruled out.

The rotator cuff can also become damaged or irritated with overuse or sometimes it can relate to posture and muscle imbalance, often referred to as shoulder impingement. Changes to the muscle may be degenerative, which is basically wear and fraying of the muscle fibres and can be due to aging or overuse, sometimes resulting in a tear. (

The shoulder may also become stiff and painful for no known reason, which may be referred to as frozen shoulder. This often runs its course and gets better in time but early diagnosis and treatment can help speed up the process. Degenerative changes in the shoulder joint (wearing and thinning of the joint surface) may also cause pain and stiffness. (

Other causes of shoulder pain include muscle imbalance and instability of the shoulder joint, which can be treated with exercises to help strengthen and re-address any imbalance. Muscle imbalance is a result of certain muscles being tight and overactive, such as the pec (chest) muscles, whilst other muscles become weak and overstretched, such as those muscles behind the shoulder blade. An unstable shoulder is when the ball does not sit well in the socket and may be due to muscle imbalance or damage to the labrum, which is basically the rim of the socket.

Physiotherapy can help in a variety of ways with shoulder pain through range of movement and strengthening exercises, stretching and other manual treatments if appropriate, taping and advice. Exercises would often focus on correcting the position of the shoulder blade and strengthening it into a better position, which can improve pain and range of movement at the shoulder. Specialist treatment such as Corticosteroid injections in acute shoulder pain due to impingement or frozen shoulder, shockwave theropy for rotator cuff chronic tendinopathies, or ostenil joint injections for arthritis of the shoulder, can all be considered, which are all offered here at Physiotherapy Matters.

If you would like to book in for a free initial telephone triage call prior to booking in for a face to face appointment, call 0191 285 8701.

No matter whether your condition was caused by a sport, work accident or otherwise, we welcome the chance to serve you.

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