Shoulder pain is one of the most frequent joint issues and the third most common muscle and bone disorder people present to physiotherapy. 2

You may develop shoulder discomfort due to various factors. It is because the shoulder comprises many muscles, ligaments, tendons, fluid-filled sacs, and bones that all operate together in a tiny space. Hence, It is not always easy to determine the source of the pain. 4

You may feel the pain under the bone that forms the shoulder (the acromion). It is commonly called shoulder impingement. 4

Shoulder discomfort originates from the joints and soft tissues of the shoulder. 5

What Caused Your Shoulder Pain?

There are various causes of shoulder discomfort, including pathologies that start locally in the tissues and joints of the shoulder. There’s also a chance that your shoulder pain is from other tissues like the neck or visceral organs. 

The various joint and soft tissue problems that can cause you to have the pain include; 

  • The area beneath your shoulder roof bone is getting smaller. 
  • Bony growths, 
  • Deterioration of the joint e.g, Arthritis
  • Calcium deposits in the tendon. 
  • A hooked acromion. It means the shoulder blade tips dip more than normal. 
  • Sometimes, weak muscles or inappropriate strain on the muscles cause the ligaments and tendons in the joint capsule to shorten. 4
  • Joint instability
  • Excessive Load or overuse due to occupation
  • Muscle imbalance 5

How Can You Know The Exact Thing That Happened To Your Shoulder? (Diagnosis Of Shoulder Pain)

To find out more about your pain, the physiotherapist or doctor will ask questions like 4

  • When the pain started, how did you feel?
  • Were you injured or involved in an accident? And
  • Do you do anything like overhead labor or particular sports that could have contributed to it?

During the physical examination, your physiotherapist will ask you to perform a series of tests. The tests include sideways arm lifts and drops and inward and outward elbow movements. The physiotherapist will feel your shoulder as well. Your physiotherapist can rule out further potential reasons for the pain, such as radiating neck pain.

Your physiotherapist may also assess using imaging techniques results such as ultrasounds and X-rays. If the cause is still unknown, you may need a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

How Physiotherapy Treat Your Shoulder Pain?

The treatment aim is to reduce your pain and to improve your range of movement and function. There are several means of achieving these aims, and these include 1

  • Patient Education
  • Exercise therapy
  • Manual therapy
  • Electrotherapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Cryotherapy
  • Tapping 

How Long Will It Take You To Recover? (Prognosis)

The underlying cause of shoulder discomfort determines the prognosis. In general, shoulder pain takes time to heal. According to studies, about 23% can fully recover after one month, while 59% can achieve the same after eighteen months. 3


Shoulder pain can limit your daily activities and productivity, but early physiotherapy treatment ensures quick recovery. 

References,musculoskeletal%20complaint%20presenting%20to%20physiotherapy. [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Shoulder pain: Overview. 2020 Feb 13. Available from:

Murphy, R. J., & Carr, A. J. (2010). Shoulder pain. BMJ clinical evidence, 2010, 1107.,subacromial%20bursa%20and%20scapulothoracic%20plane.

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