Shoulder Pain

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Kevin completed his MSc dissertation on shoulder function and is in the process of applying for National Institute of Health (NIHR) Doctoral Fellowship to conduct PhD research, looking at the role of posterior shoulder tightness in shoulder impingement syndrome.

Good shoulder function is vital for many sporting and working tasks and shoulder pain can cause significant loss to quality of life. There are many causes of shoulder pain, ranging from major injuries like dislocation and fracture to pain that starts slowly and increases over several years. The shoulder is the most complicated joint in the body, actually composed of five separate joints. The complicated anatomy of this joint makes it very susceptible to injury. The key to effective treatment lies in accurate diagnosis and this can only be done through a thorough assessment.

The assessment will probably involve a thorough examination of your neck to be sure that your shoulder pain is not referred from here.

Treatment will vary greatly depending on the cause of your symptoms

Common treatments for shoulder problems include:

  • Mobilisation of the shoulder joint or any tight structures around the shoulder
  • Soft tissue treatments to any areas of tension and spasm (trigger points)
  • Strengthening any weak muscle groups around the shoulder.
  • Treatment to your thoracic spine (the area of you back between your shoulder blades).
  • Identifying and correcting any abnormal movement patterns of the shoulder that place unnecessary stress on the shoulder structures.
  • All treatment programs will include some form of home exercise; either a strengthening program to improve the control of the shoulder or exercises to work on reducing stiffness in the area depending on your condition.
  • In some cases it may be necessary to conduct investigations to help establish the exact cause of the symptoms; this will be discussed with you if required.