Shoulder pain is very common in the general population and is currently ranked as the third most common musculoskeletal problem and reason to visit the GP. Recent literature has reported that up to 7% of the general population is affected, with 26% of the older population reporting shoulder problems (Artus et al. in BMJopen 2017).
The most common causes of shoulder pain are: rotator cuff tendinopathy/tear, frozen shoulder/adhesive capsulitis, osteoarthritis in gleno-humeral or in acromioclavicular joint, dislocation, hypermobility, congenital abnormality, muscular wastage/weakness, infection and – in worst-case scenarios – cancer.
Symptoms include: pain with the inability to lift the arm, reduced movement of the arm accompanied by pain, anterior pain when attempting to lift the arm or reaching up above the shoulder or backwards.
Often there can be referred pain from the neck area in cases where there have been previous neck/cervical spine injuries. Pins and needles or loss of sensation may be referred down the arm or to the hand.
In some cases, pain can occur at night, which interferes with sleep as well as work or leisure activities. Most shoulder pain sufferers however don’t seem keen on consulting GPs/healthcare professionals for advice.
This could be linked to the fact that most shoulder symptoms can persist for up to three years from onset without improvement and patients can get frustrated consulting healthcare professionals for the same unsolved problem.
The shoulder/shoulder girdle is the most complex joint in the human body and this complicates its assessment as well as treatment.
At David Physio & Sports Clinic, we combine our deep knowledge of the shoulder girdle anatomy, functional mechanism and experience in successfully treating thousands of patients to perform a thorough and comprehensive assessment using the latest techniques and methods to diagnose, treat and teach patients about management.
Female shoulder pain patients are advised to wear a short-sleeved top to facilitate assessment.