Shoulder Pain

The problem

With the rise of home working I’ve noticed that I see more sufferers of shoulder and neck pain than I used to. It’s possible that this is because those working from home spend longer at their computers without a break and could also be related to work station set ups, which are often not as good as those people have in an office environment.

In the clear majority of cases it’s possible to make significant improvements to pain levels and range of movement in shoulder pain using manual therapy.

Understanding your pain

As with other specific conditions that can be addressed with manual therapy, it is important to first understand the history of your shoulder pain before a diagnosis can be made. This involves asking you: to describe your symptoms; when and how your symptoms started; which activities provoke pain or dysfunction and so on.

The history you give me guides me in making an appropriate physical examination of the joint and surrounding tissue including the neck and thoracic spine. The examination might include observation in standing of the angle and position of your shoulder blade, collar bone, arms and neck. These are examined both statically and in motion. If appropriate I will also assess your response to resistance at the shoulder to see if this provokes weakness or pain.

Typical shoulder problems I treat include:

  • Rotator cuff tendinopathies
  • Biceps tendinopathy
  • Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)
  • Shoulder impingement

Treatment consists of applying appropriate manual therapy techniques such as soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation and stretches to the appropriate tissue. Sometimes this means a focus on the area of pain and sometimes this means relieving surrounding tissue that may have become painful or restricted either because of adaptations you have made to accommodate your shoulder problem or issues that are affecting the shoulder directly.

During the treatment we can discuss how you can improve posture and work place habits to reduce the strain on your shoulder and improve function. We can also discuss whether a graded exercise programme is appropriate for you and if so I can take you through the relevant exercises after the manual therapy treatment.