Shoulder pain 

A physiotherapist explains what you can do to prevent and ease shoulder pain, and when to get help from an expert.

Get advice on living with pain

Transcript of Shoulder pain

Hi, my name's Tim Allardyce.

I'm a registered osteopath and chartered physiotherapist

and I work at Croydon Physiotherapy.

The shoulder joint is an enormously complex joint.

It has a very wide range of movement,

and this can put the ligaments and the muscles around the joint

under a lot of strain.

The shoulder joint's also very susceptible

to posture and work ergonomics,

so it's very easy to get a repetitive strain

or a work-related injury to the shoulder.

When you present to a physiotherapist,

first of all we'll make an assessment.

We'll probably ask you to lift your arms above your head, backwards, sideways.

We'll look at how much movement you've got with your shoulder.

We'll then lift your arm up ourselves and feel the actual shoulder joint

to see if we can work out exactly what the problem is.

Acute shoulder pain usually settles down quite quickly

with treatment and anti-inflammatories.

We can get the shoulder moving quite quickly

and you can get a good response to treatment,

sometimes within a few sessions.

More chronic shoulder pain is often more difficult to treat,

because the shoulder pain's being going on a lot longer.

There can be other issues involved with the shoulder,

such as wear and tear or arthritis

in one or two of the small joints around the shoulder.

My advice to people with shoulder pain

is if you do do exercises on the shoulder,

make sure you're given those exercises by a physiotherapist

so they can accurately give you the exercises

which are right for your shoulder.

A lot of people come and see us

and decide to do their own exercises using gym equipment,

and often this just makes the problem worse.

It's important to maintain good form when you do the exercise

and to do the exercises exactly as they've been shown.

The second piece of advice I'd give

is to use ice or ice and heat on the shoulder.

Many inflammatory conditions affect the shoulder.

Three times a day, five minutes of frozen peas

or an ice bag wrapped in a frozen tea towel

across the top of the shoulder

should be enough to reduce your symptoms within a couple of weeks.

Some people prefer to use heat, and heat can work equally well.

It's worth experimenting between the ice and the heat

to see what works for you, but a hot-water bottle

on the tip of the shoulder wrapped in a tea towel,

can be excellent, 20 minutes, two to three times a day.

Posture is so important for shoulder problems.

A lot of us slouch at work, we are generally sedentary based

and we tend to roll our shoulders forward and bring our neck forward,

which puts the shoulder in a particularly vulnerable position.

There's a very high correlation

between shoulder pain and poor posture.

So just keeping your shoulders gently back,

maintaining good, upright posture, and addressing any slouching at work

can make a big difference to your shoulder pain.


How helpful is this page?

Average rating

Based on 16 ratings

All ratings

10  ratings
2  ratings
0  ratings
1  ratings
3  ratings

Add your rating

Living with pain

What to do about different types of pain, including joint pain, back pain and migraines, plus how to manage long-term pain