Shoulder pain and injury are commonplace. Your shoulder is the most mobile of all your joints. Just think about how much it can move.
The reason for this movement is a tiny shoulder joint contact zone. This small contact area essentially means that your shoulder is quite unstable. That is why your shoulder muscles are so vital to a normally functioning shoulder.
When Should You Worry About Shoulder Pain?
In most cases, if you are suffering shoulder pain, your muscles are not strong enough or uncoordinated.
Luckily, you can normalise both of these dysfunctions: a high-quality shoulder assessment and specific exercises prescribed by a skilled shoulder healthcare practitioner such as your physiotherapist.
But some cases of shoulder pain require urgent attention.
Sudden Onset Shoulder Pain
Please seek immediate medical attention if a traumatic injury causes your shoulder pain. Fall or contact injuries such as a tackle or heavy bump may fracture or dislocate your shoulder. It is imperative if you are experiencing a shoulder joint that appears deformed, muscle weakness, intense pain, or sudden swelling.
If you are experiencing shoulder pain with difficulty breathing or feelings of tightness in your chest, you may be experiencing a heart attack. You require immediate medical attention. Please call 000 immediately.
Sudden Pain That Fails to Improve
What Are 6 Common Shoulder Injuries?
Most shoulder pain falls into one of the following categories:
- Rotator Cuff
- Shoulder Bursitis
- Shoulder Dislocation (Instability)
- Frozen Shoulder
- Shoulder Fractures
- Shoulder Arthritis
Would you please discuss your shoulder condition with a trusted shoulder physiotherapist?
Common Shoulder Pain & Injury Conditions
- Rotator Cuff Syndrome
- Shoulder Tendinopathy
- Rotator Cuff Calcific Tendinopathy
- Rotator Cuff Tear
- Bicep Tendinopathy
- Shoulder Impingement
- Swimmer's Shoulder
- Subacromial Decompression
- Shoulder Arthroscopy
- Rotator Cuff Repair
- SLAP Repair
- Biceps Tenodesis
- Biceps Tenotomy
- Total Shoulder Replacement
Researchers have discovered that managing your shoulder injury with physiotherapy is usually successful. Typically, you have two options: a non-operative or a surgical approach. Your condition will dictate which option is best for you at this time. Non-operative care is conservative rehabilitation.
If shoulder surgery is required, then your physiotherapist may undertake:
Pre-operative rehabilitation - either trial a non-operative/conservative treatment approach or condition and prepare your shoulder and body for a surgical procedure.
Post-operative physiotherapy will safely regain your normal range of movement, strength and function.
PhysioWorks physiotherapists have a particular interest and an excellent working relationship with leading shoulder surgeons. Our physiotherapy team provide you with both conservative and post-operative shoulder rehabilitation options. We aim for you to attain the best possible outcome for your shoulder injury.
For specific information regarding your shoulder, please consult your trusted shoulder physiotherapist.
Acute Injury Signs
Acute Injury Management.
Here are some warning signs that you have an injury. While some injuries are immediately evident, others can creep up slowly and progressively get worse. If you don't pay attention to both types of injuries, chronic problems can develop.
For detailed information on specific injuries, check out the injury by body part section.
Don't Ignore these Injury Warning Signs
Joint pain, particularly in the knee, ankle, elbow, and wrist joints, should never be ignored. Because these joints are not covered by muscle, pain here is rarely of muscular origin. Joint pain that lasts more than 48 hours requires a professional diagnosis.
If you can elicit pain at a specific point in a bone, muscle, or joint, you may have a significant injury by pressing your finger into it. If the same spot on the other side of the body does not produce the same pain, you should probably see your health professional.
Nearly all sports or musculoskeletal injuries cause swelling. Swelling is usually quite obvious and can be seen, but occasionally you may feel as though something is swollen or "full" even though it looks normal. Swelling usually goes along with pain, redness and heat.
Reduced Range of Motion
If the swelling isn't obvious, you can usually find it by checking for a reduced range of motion in a joint. If there is significant swelling within a joint, you will lose range of motion. Compare one side of the body with the other to identify major differences. If there are any, you probably have an injury that needs attention.
Compare sides for weakness by performing the same task. One way to tell is to lift the same weight with the right and left sides and look at the result. Or try to place body weight on one leg and then the other. A difference in your ability to support your weight is another suggestion of an injury that requires attention.
Immediate Injury Treatment: Step-by-Step Guidelines
- Stop the activity immediately.
- Wrap the injured part in a compression bandage.
- Apply ice to the injured part (use a bag of crushed ice or a bag of frozen vegetables).
- Elevate the injured part to reduce swelling.
- Consult your health practitioner for a proper diagnosis of any serious injury.
- Rehabilitate your injury under professional guidance.
- Seek a second opinion if you are not improving.