Shoulder pain

Frozen Shoulder & Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder pain can be highly debilitating when severe. It can affect your sleep and daily function, and will frequently progress to causing neck and upper back pain and even headaches. Shoulder pain is often related to the timing and coordination of the muscle action when using your arm – which is called the scapulo-humeral rhythm. The scapula-humeral rhythm can be adversely affected by postural pain, injury or fatigue, amongst other factors.

Shoulder impingement occurs when the ‘scapula-humeral rhythm’ becomes so badly disrupted that the rotator cuff muscles (which support the shoulder joint) fail to stabilize the joint effectively. With this poor joint position, we find that the surrounding structures become compressed during movement, including the joint’s capsule, ligaments and local bursae (a soft tissue within the joint) as well as the tendons of the rotator cuff themselves. Shoulder impingement often develops gradually and can be initially quite mild, but will become worse when left untreated. In other cases, shoulder impingement can develop after an injury to the arm or shoulder which causes you to change your technique with movement or exercise. The most painful movements tend to be lifting the arms above shoulder height or rotating through the shoulder – for example getting your wallet from your back pocket or putting on your seatbelt. Shoulder impingement can be managed well with exercises and physiotherapy treatment. We offer specialized treatment in our Shoulder and Neck Clinic.

“Frozen shoulder” or adhesive capsulitis is a condition in which the lining of the shoulder capsule becomes painfully inflamed. When a “frozen shoulder” is developing, the range of motion in your shoulder becomes severely restricted and the shoulder can be extremely painful. Frozen shoulder will worsen after onset, symptoms will then plateau before slowly resolving. Unfortunately the duration of symptoms can vary between people, making recovery a frustrating process at times! Physiotherapy treatment can help reduce muscular pain and tightness in the shoulder joint and the neck/upper back muscles as well. Your physiotherapist will provide exercises for you to do at home which are suitable for the ‘stage’ in the process of frozen shoulder that you are in.

See Claremont Shoulder & Neck Clinic for more information about disorders of the shoulder and neck, including headaches.

For more information on the conditions we treat and services we offer, or to book an appointment call
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Our physiotherapists are experts in the management of musculoskeletal pain, injury and disease.
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