How to Manage Shoulder Injuries

Managing Shoulder Injuries

Shoulders are an extremely mobile area and very susceptible to over-use or trauma. Trauma to one or several of the supporting structures often leads to long term disability and pain. Pain in the shoulder can be referred by a number of adjacent tissues including our neck and nerves.  An accurate diagnosis is paramount to designing the correct rehabilitation program to assist recovery.


Most common shoulder conditions:

1. Shoulder tendinopathy

Pain in the tendons which is localized and relatively superficial. It may cause restriction in elevation movements, particularly out to the side and is associated with bursitis.

2. Frozen shoulder

Mostly common in middle aged females, the onset is insidious and the condition over time progresses through several distinct phases from initial pain, then pain and stiffness, then stiffness only until full resolution. The pain is deep, poorly localized, and causes loss of hand behind back movements.

3. Rotator cuff tear

Occurs mostly in men and is caused either by a traumatic event in the younger population, or attrition and thinning of the muscle with time in the older population.

4. Referred pain

shoulder pain coming from our neck or along the nerves, are an increasing problem related most typically to our computer and sitting-based lifestyles.


Top 5 tips

1. Support your shoulder by using pillows to support your arm; placing your hand in your pocket; resting your hand on your head; or placing your forearm on the desk with your shoulder girdle slightly elevated.

2. Use heat on the surrounding muscles if the pain has an ache quality or cold on the shoulder if the quality of the pain is sharper.

3. Have your physio tape your shoulder to reduce the strain on the joint and muscles.

4. Perform gentle pain easing range of movement exercises.

5. Once movement has returned, perform conditioning exercises of your rotator cuff and then the rest of the muscles of the arm and shoulder girdle to regain strength and function.