How Physiotherapy Can Help Treat Your Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is a common annoyance, particularly as we use them so much, for day to day physical work and activities. There are a number of reasons why your shoulder can become painful. These include; disease, injury, overuse, wear and tear and pre-existing structural problems. Fortunately, physiotherapy can help you overcome a shoulder injury or recover after shoulder surgery. If you have shoulder pain, then it is important to see your physiotherapist for a quick recovery. In this blog I will detail some of the common problems associated with shoulders and how your physiotherapist can help treat your shoulder pain or injury.

Shoulder Dislocation and Unstable Shoulders:

Shoulder dislocation and unstable shoulders occur when the humerus (arm bone) pops out of its socket, applying pressure to the shoulder joint.  The most common occurrence of this injury is during a fall or collision.  Some people are more prone to this injury, as their shoulder joints dislocate much easier than other individuals with little force applied.  Once dislocation is reduced (which depends on the length of time for each individual, some requiring more effort than others), it is highly recommended that you see your physiotherapist to help with the recovery process.  This involves settling the inflammation and strengthening the muscles around the area to ensure the best chance of this injury not reoccurring again. An unstable shoulder (too much movement within the shoulder joint) can lead to further shoulder pain and injury, but with strengthening exercises, pain can be reduced and function returned.

AC Joint Injury and Shoulder Pain:
This is the joint that connects the collar bone (clavicle) to the shoulder.  Strains and disruption are the common forms of injury.  Depending on the degree of damage, an operation may be required to repair the joint, followed by physiotherapy.  Arthritis can also affect the AC joint, normally caused by previous injury or overuse.  Onset is normally later on in life.  With physiotherapy treatment, this can restore pain free movement in most arthritic joints.

Rotator Cuff Problems:
The small deep stabilising muscles of the shoulder can become painful due to injury as well as wear and tear.  Physiotherapy is required to rehabilitate the shoulder, and strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. A cortisone injection may also be required to reduce inflammation.  If symptoms persist, surgery can be performed to repair the damaged rotator cuff tendons and/or to exercise bony spurs and other tissues which could cause pinching and damage of the tendons.

Neck Problems Can Cause Shoulder Pain: 
Neck pain can travel down into your shoulders.  Your physiotherapist will be able to assess you to see whether your neck is contributing to your shoulder pain in any way.  Physiotherapy treatment on your neck could therefore reduce your shoulder pain.


Broken bones can occur during trauma to the shoulder.  Fractures either need to be reduced (bones put back into alignment) or pinned and wired to help them heal back into the correct position.  Physiotherapy should commence as soon as possible, in order to reduce stiffness, regain function and help prevent the chance of complications.

Labral Tears:
Cartilage making up part of the shoulder joint socket is called the labrum.  Cartilage tears occurring in the labrum are caused from injury, overuse and wear and tear (e.g. with swimming, tennis, repetitive work) which may dispose you to this injury.  Surgery can repair damaged cartilage and physiotherapy is required to rehabilitate your shoulder.

Frozen Shoulders:
Sometimes a shoulder can stiffen up after injury or surgery, and for no apparent reason.  Having physiotherapy after injury or surgery reduces and prevents a frozen shoulder occurring.  Once frozen shoulder has occurred, it can take up to 12 months, or even more to regain full function.

Shoulder Arthritis:
Like all joints in the human body, shoulders can become arthritic due to wear and tear and disease (e.g. Rheumatoid arthritis).  Physiotherapy can help manage ongoing and recurrent arthritic symptoms.
If you are suffering from shoulder pain and shoulder problems, it is high recommended you see your physiotherapist as soon as possible.  As they will be able to assess and treat your problem ensuring a quicker recovery.

If you are looking for a reliable and trusted physiotherapist, with the added bonus of offering competitive prices, including the Hicaps facility, then visit Joslin Clinic Physiotherapy and Nutrition to start your physiotherapy treatment today. Phone (03) 9912 2000 now or Email us.

Shoulder Pain can be diagnosed by your physiotherapist


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