What is Shoulder Pain?
Shoulder pain is a common condition which can cause sufferers to struggle with performing their usual daily tasks, and may prevent them from taking part in sports and activities that they enjoy.
There are a number of different reasons that you may suffer from shoulder pain.
- Rotator cuff problem. This refers to pain in the shoulder or upper arm and it is usually the result of repetitive use of the arm and shoulder – often when playing a sport. Sufferers feel the pain particularly badly when lifting their arm or lying on it. Pain also occurs when you try to use the sore muscles.
- Adhesive capsulitis. Often known as ‘frozen shoulder’ this refers to the gradual stiffening of the tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint. Your shoulder can become stiff and painful often reaching the point where it affects your ability to use your arm to do even simple daily activities
- Osteoarthritis. This is often age related and if you have had previous injury to your shoulder or surgery on this area you may be more prone to developing it as you get older. It is caused by the wearing away of the cartilage of the shoulder joint. This leads to the two bones rubbing together. Stabbing pains, swelling, aches and stiffness in the shoulder area are all symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- Acromioclavicular joint pain. This is pain in the joint on the tip of the shoulder where your collarbone joins your shoulder blade.
- Referred shoulder pain. Pain can have its root in another area of the body. Often pain felt in the shoulder can have its cause in the neck or upper back.
- Shoulder instability. This can be caused by dislocation or excessive movement of the shoulder joint.
How we can help you
As shoulder pain can often have complex causes we will work with you to try and get to the root of your problem. To help with shoulder pain osteopaths use a number of techniques which will depend on both your age and health and the diagnosis that we make.
We can use massage, rhythmical articulation and stretching techniques to help ease the pain. We will also look at other areas of your body that might be contributing to your shoulder pain. We may massage and loosen the neck joints and the mid back and shoulder blade area. Sometimes we will also massage the lower back and hips. This should work to reduce tension in tight muscles and will hopefully improve the movement in your shoulder.
We will also look at your general health and lifestyle habits and discuss any that we feel may be affecting your shoulder and causing you pain. An osteopath can also give advice on your posture and on specific strengthening or loosening exercises for your shoulder.
We may ask for other tests to help with our diagnosis such as x-rays or scans. If we feel you need additional treatment or further investigations we will always refer you to your GP.