General Shoulder Aches and Pains

Shoulder complaints can be very debilitating, so the sooner the correct diagnosis is made, the sooner the normal mechanics of the shoulder can be restored.

Rehabilitative exercises are often an essential part of managing shoulder pain; if not prescribed, the shoulder can become chronically unstable.

How can we help?

Young woman with shoulder pain

People do not automatically think of seeing a chiropractor or osteopath when they have shoulder pain, as most people assume we 'just do backs'; however, many shoulder complaints arise from the neck. We are trained in examining, diagnosing and treating problems with all the joints in the body.

Effective treatment starts with diagnosing correctly what is causing your problem. We will examine the range of movement in your shoulders - focusing on the muscles, tendons and ligaments, as well as testing for cartilage damage.

Arthritis of the shoulder is not common, but we do see it occasionally and will refer you for an x-ray if we think this is the case.

You will be involved in any decisions about your care, and your practitioner will give you advice on appropriate pain management strategies. Your treatment is likely to be a package of care that may include: 

  • Expert advice
  • Self-management
  • Manual therapies (including manipulation, mobilisation and soft tissue work)
  • Dry needling/medical acupuncture
  • Tailored exercise approaches
  • Psychologically informed care

You can also expect to receive advice on the appropriateness of undertaking exercises, being physically active and continuing normal daily activities as far as possible, as well as remaining in work, graded return and fit notes.

Please see the top left-hand corner of this page for a list of other causes of shoulder pain.

How long will it take until I feel better?

This is very much down to the individual. As a rough guide, young, fit and healthy patients with more recent problems will probably take fewer adjustments; however, older, less fit or indeed the less healthy individual will probably take a few more.

Different conditions take different lengths of time to heal as well (for example, a facet joint sprain will heal a lot more quickly than a disc herniation).

At your Report of Findings (RoF) appointment, your practitioner will give you an informed estimate as to how long you can expect the course of care to take. They will keep you up to date with your prognosis throughout your care, and you will undergo a review appointment every six sessions; however, following your practitioner's advice is strongly recommended to help you to get better more quickly.

Also, 'better' means different things to different people. Some people come to see us merely to get out of pain, whereas the majority of people come to see us to get well and stay well. Some people with chronic conditions recognise the fact that they may always have some discomfort, but derive a huge amount of benefit from regular adjustments - keeping them functioning at their very best.

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