Shoulder pain is a common complaint, which we regularly treat at the Home Physios. The shoulder is a joint known as a ball and socket joint. It is formed by the meeting of the bone in your upper arm (the humerus) and the shoulder blade (the scapula). The shoulder is naturally a shallow joint which allows for a range of movement, but this can leave it vulnerable to injury.
Trauma is an obvious cause of shoulder pain, and it is common for patients to experience problems after having fallen directly onto the shoulder or onto an outstretched hand. Trauma such as this can cause injury to the structure at the shoulder joint. Overloading of the shoulder joint and overuse, particularly with unaccustomed exercise or movements, are also common non-traumatic sources of pain.
Symptoms at the shoulder usually consist of a combination of weakness, stiffness, instability and pain. Often pain will be felt when moving the arm whilst carrying out daily activities, such as cleaning, or carrying shopping. Symptoms sometimes worsen with carrying loads or lying directly on the shoulder.
Instability usually occurs after trauma, whereas weakness is common with most diagnoses. Stiffness can vary in severity, with some patients experiencing only brief stiffness in the morning whilst others suffer constant stiffness with decreased overall movement. Your physiotherapist will ask about these common symptoms to help diagnose and treat your problem.
There are several conditions at the shoulder that can result in pain and loss of function. As previously explained, trauma and overuse are common causes of shoulder issues.
To better understand complaints at the shoulder, conditions can be separated into 3 categories; weak and painful; stiff and painful; and unstable and painful.
Common weak and painful conditions:
Common stiff and painful conditions:
Common unstable and painful conditions:
Trauma causing fractures or injury to muscle, tendons and ligaments can cause patients to present in any of these categories.
Your physiotherapist will carry out a thorough assessment to establish the cause of your symptoms. They will ask questions regarding the severity, irritability and nature of your pain. They will also enquire about the history of your condition and the aggravating movements and activities.
A physical examination will include observation of you at rest, examination of your movement and strength and palpation of the shoulder and surrounding muscles. Special orthopaedic tests may also be carried out to test structures at the joint. Information will be collated to make a diagnosis.
Treatment will aim to improve your symptoms and restore function of the shoulder. Common treatment options consist of:
For more information on shoulder pain, check out a couple of our blogs!
If you are looking for a local home physiotherapist to assist you with your shoulder pain or problem, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us for a consultation. Contact us on the form below, phone 0208 659 7252 or email - firstname.lastname@example.org