Causes of shoulder pain
Shoulder pain is extremely common with up to 25% of the UK population experiencing it at some point. In most of these cases, it does not involve serious damage. Most acute shoulder pain will settle in 6-8 weeks.
Shoulder pain can arise from various causes, such as:
- Repetitive strain and use
- Sports-related activities
- Prolonged posture
- Sudden trauma
- Rotator cuff injuries
At Chiswick-Physio, over 60% of clients we see have shoulder symptoms that occur for no specific reason or incident. Shoulder injuries can affect the tendons, muscles, ligaments, or joints of the shoulder, leading to conditions like:
- Rotator cuff tears
- Frozen shoulder
- Shoulder impingement syndrome
Symptoms of shoulder pain
Shoulder injuries can manifest with pain around the shoulder blade, neck, shoulder joint, upper arm and down into the arm leading to limited mobility. It can present as:
- Constant dull ache
- Acute pain with movement
- Pain that wakes one up at night
- Reduced movement
- Reduced strength
An in-depth assessment and structured rehabilitation programme is often needed to determine the cause.
Treatment of shoulder pain
At our West London clinic, we provide tailored treatment approaches that address your specific needs to help ease your shoulder pain. Treatment will typically involve:
- Strengthening exercises
- Improving range of movement
- Physical therapy, including massage
Exercises for shoulder pain
Given the relative lack of bony connection between the shoulder and the rest of the body, it is more dependent on muscular support, with strengthening being essential for full recovery. Our team is trained to ensure exercises are achievable and safe to support your recovery and ease your shoulder pain. Exercises, depending on your symptoms, may include:
- Eccentric loading
When to see a physio for shoulder pain
Recovery for shoulder injuries takes an average of 3-6 months. If you’re experiencing pain in the shoulder or shoulder blade, it’s crucial to gain a comprehensive understanding of your condition and get advice early.
How can I arrange a consultation for shoulder pain?
Contact the clinic and someone from our team can talk you through the best roadmap to recovery for your shoulder and to help ease your shoulder pain.
What are the symptoms of shoulder pain?
Symptoms of shoulder pain can include aching, stiffness, and limited range of motion in the affected shoulder and shoulder balde, often accompanied by discomfort or pain when moving the arm. In some cases, you may also experience referred pain in the neck, upper back and area of the rotator cuff.
How do I know if my shoulder pain is severe?
If your shoulder pain is severe, you may experience intense and constant pain that significantly impairs your ability to move the affected arm, causes you to wake at night or perform daily activities. Additionally, severe shoulder pain may be accompanied by symptoms such as numbness or weakness indicating a need for prompt medical attention.
What should I avoid doing if I have shoulder pain?
If you have shoulder pain, it’s advisable to avoid activities that exacerbate the discomfort, such as lifting, repetitive overhead motions and reaching behind you. Additionally, refrain from ignoring or pushing through the pain, as this can potentially worsen the underlying issue.
When should I see a physiotherapist with shoulder pain?
You should consider seeing a physiotherapist for shoulder pain if the pain persists for more than a few days, limits your range of motion, or if you experience weakness, tingling, or numbness in the affected shoulder or arm. A physical therapy assessment by a physiotherapist can assess your condition and provide you with the best course of action to help ease your shoulder pain.
What is the best exercise for shoulder pain?
The best exercise for shoulder pain can vary depending on the underlying cause of the pain, so it’s essential to consult with a physiotherapist for personalised recommendations. However, gentle range-of-motion exercises and strengthening exercises targeting the rotator cuff muscles, such as external rotations with resistance bands, are often beneficial to help ease shoulder pain for many shoulder injuries.
Do I need surgery for my shoulder injury?
Surgery is needed on approximately 5% of all shoulder injuries. The need for surgery to address shoulder pain depends on the specific cause and severity of your condition. Surgery is typically considered when conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, has not provided relief, and the pain is significantly affecting your quality of life or there is an underlying structural issue that requires surgical correction.
Why does my shoulder click?
Shoulder clicking can occur due to a variety of reasons, including muscle or tendon movement over bony structures, the presence of air or fluid within the joint, or the development of small benign growths called osteophytes. While occasional clicking may not necessarily be a cause for concern, persistent or painful clicking should be evaluated.
Do I need a scan for my shoulder pain?
Whether or not you need a scan for your shoulder pain depends on the severity, duration, and underlying cause of the pain. In most cases, it is initially recommended to follow conservative treatment and only order scans like X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans if the pain persists, worsens, or if there’s suspicion of a more serious underlying condition like a fracture, torn ligament, rotator cuff or structural issue within the shoulder joint.