Shoulder Complaints

The shoulder is the most commonly injured joint through physical activity. Sports involving throwing and overhead activities can cause shoulder problems.

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A bit about shoulder pain...

Due to the large range of motion at the shoulder joint, the shoulder is often vulnerable to dislocation and overuse, and is therefore the most common joint injured as a result of sports and physical activity. The ball and socket joint gains most of its stability from the four rotator cuff muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. These muscles are most commonly involved in shoulder injuries.

What can go wrong?

The most common shoulder conditions are:

  • Rotator cuff tendinitis or tears/ruptures
  • Impingement syndrome
  • Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)
  • AC joint sprains
  • Dislocation

What causes shoulder pain?

Although it’s a common problem, shoulder pain is often complex because there are a number of different causes, from sprains and strains to overuse and degeneration over time. Shoulder pain can also be a symptom of a problem in a different area of the body, like the neck.

Shoulder pain can encompass the whole of the shoulder girdle from the collar bone at the front to the shoulder blade at the back. Frozen shoulder is one reason you might experience shoulder pain, a painful persistent stiffness of the shoulder joint where the whole shoulder joint becomes ‘frozen’, reducing normal movement and in some cases preventing any movement in the shoulder.

Rotator cuff disorders are another cause of shoulder pain. The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons that keep the shoulder stable. Tendonitis, the inflammation of a tendon, is one type of rotator cuff disorder, caused by overuse of the shoulder or shoulder injury. This condition can affect athletes involved in throwing sports or people who do a lot of overhead lifting in their job.

Possible causes of shoulder pain:

SymptomsPossible causes
Pain and stiffness that does not go away over months or yearsfrozen shoulder, arthritis (osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis)
Pain that's often worse while using your arm or shouldertendonitis, bursitis, impingement
Tingling, numb, weak, feels like it's clicking or lockingshoulder instability, sometimes because of hypermobility
Sudden very bad pain, cannot move your arm (or it's difficult), sometimes changes shapedislocated shoulder, broken bone (such as the upper arm or collarbone), torn or ruptured tendon
Pain on top of the shoulder (where the collarbone and shoulder joint meet)problems in the acromioclavicular joint, like dislocation or stretched or torn ligaments

Specialist treatment and prevention of shoulder pain

At The Medical our specialist practitioners work with a diverse range of amateur, semi-professional and professional sports people, from triathlon athletes and martial artists, to Bristol City FC and Bristol rugby players. Needless to say we have a wealth of experience to call upon when it comes to shoulders.

Our specialist practitioners, combined with the unique treatment methodology we've developed, means we deliver the highest quality service and best possible results.

  1. Diagnosis - X-rays and 3D Movement Scanners
  2. Treatment - manual therapy, such as joint manipulation/mobilisation and massage, carried out by physiotherapists, chiropractors or osteopaths
  3. Strength and conditioning - Pilates and rehabilitation where you're taught exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your posture

Your road to recovery begins with a full assessment with one of our expert physiotherapists, chiropractors or osteopaths.

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