Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain or stiffness can be very debilitating and can arise from many different causes. 

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Often shoulder pain can occur following injury or develop more gradually through poor posture or movement patterns.

In these cases there are many simple things you can do yourself to help reduce pain or inflammation. This may include the use of ice packs, the use of anti-inflammatories (following discussion with your pharmacist or GP) to avoiding certain activities that aggravate the pain.

If your shoulder pain or stiffness has not improved following 2 weeks or you have shoulder pain that is worrying you it is worth getting it examined.

common Causes

Common causes of shoulder pain can include:

  • Osteoarthritis – this involves degenerative changes to the articular surfaces of the shoulder and can include the gleno-humerol joint, sternoclavicular joint or acromioclavicular joint.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – This is an autoimmune disease where the bodies own cells can destroy the joint surfaces. Other joints will also be affected. Further blood tests are required to diagnose this disease.
  • Frozen shoulder – This is the inflammation of the capsule around the gleno-humerol joint causing a severe reduction in shoulder mobility.
  • Rotator cuff injury – this involves a partial or complete tear of one or more of the shoulder stabilising muscles. This often occurs following trauma.
  • Shoulder impingement - As you raise raise your arm to shoulder height (abduction), the space between the acromion and rotator cuff narrows. The acromion and humerus can rub against (or "impinge" ) the biceps brachii or rotator cuff. 
  • Shoulder tendonitis -Tendonitis can occur in many different tendons of the body. The tendons typically affected in the shoulder include the biceps and the supraspinatus. In more chronic situations these tendons can sometimes calcify. 
  • Neck referral- certain conditions in the neck may cause shoulder referral pain.
  • Visceral referral – shoulder pain can be a result from dysfunctions in other organs such as heart of gall bladder problems. Hence a thorough case history is required to identify if this is a potential cause of pain. As you can see there are numerous causes of shoulder pain.

As osteopaths we are musculoskeletal specialists and are recognised as primary health practitioners complementary to other medical professions. This means we are specialist in the field of bones, joints, muscles and soft tissue diseases and dysfunctions and are therefore able to provide you with the best advice, treatment or further referral for your shoulder condition.

Here at Exeter Acupuncture & Osteopath Clinic we work closely with other medical professions such as GP or consultant and will always refer you for further investigations such as blood tests or scans if required.

Our team are always happy to help or give advice, if your neck pain is worrying you please feel free to call for advice. Do not forget we always offer a FREE 30 Minute Consultation to all, with no obligations.