Shoulder pain

Shoulder pain is often very complex. As a result, shoulder injuries can be more difficult to treat.

Common Shoulder injuries include:

  • rotator cuff tears - pain/weakness when lifting the arm or lying on it, usually from repetitive overuse or sports injury.
  • acromioclavicular joint pain - pain where the collarbone meets the tip of your shoulder
  • tendonitis - inflammation of the tendon from overuse or arthritis
  • shoulder impingement (Subacromial bursitis) – when shoulder tendons are trapped and compressed during shoulder movements
  • frozen shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) – painful and gradual stiffening of the shoulder capsule (the tissue that surrounds your shoulder joint) which then limits/"freezes" your shoulder movement
  • postural tension - neck and shoulder stiffness from poor posture
  • referred pain - pain coming from the neck or upper back causing shoulder pain
  • osteoarthritis - swelling, stiffness, sharp pain due to wear and tear of the cartilage in the  shoulder joint
  • shoulder instability - dislocation of the shoulder joint

Shoulder problems are often complex and can take a long time to resolve. To treat your shoulder pain, it is sometimes necessary to address your neck, back and shoulder blade area. Osteopathic treatment will aim at improving the function and movement of those joints to reduce the strain patterns. To complement the treatment, we may also provide some stretching and rehabilitative exercise as well as offer advice on posture and lifestyle habits. If there is no improvement, we may refer you back to your GP for X-rays, scans or other tests to help in management.

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Gert JD Bergman, Jan C Winter, Maurits W van Tulder, Betty Meyboom-de Jong, Klaas Postema and Geert JMG van der Heijden

Published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2010

Manipulative therapy in addition to usual medical care accelerates recovery and is more effective than usual medical care alone on the long term, but is associated with higher costs.

Brantingham JW, Cassa TK, Bonnefin D, Jensen M, Globe G, Hicks M, Korporaal C.

Published in J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 Jun;34(5):314-46. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.04.002.

This study found fair evidence for manual and manipulative therapy (MMT) of the shoulder, shoulder girdle, and/or the the full kinetic chain (FKC) combined with multimodal or exercise therapy for rotator cuff injuries/disorders, disease, or dysfunction. There is also fair evidence for MMT of the shoulder/shoulder girdle and the FKC combined with a multimodal treatment approach for shoulder complaints, dysfunction, disorders, and/or pain.