Open 6 days, Early to Late! 8am-8pm
call us at: (03) 9593 6333
Book Appointment Onsite parking


Top Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

shoulder pain causes

Did you know that shoulder pain can be caused from lots of different issues? Osteopaths are highly skilled at diagnosing and treating shoulder pain and associated conditions. We make sure you understand what has happened and why.

By understanding the complex nature of the shoulder girdle, it will help explain how so many different issues can cause shoulder pain, discomfort, and restriction!

The shoulder is made up of several joints –

  1. The Glenohumeral Joint, GH joint, also knows as the ball and socket joint. It is between the shoulder blade (scapula) and the upper arm bone (humerus). It is one of the most mobile joints of the body that allows the shoulder to have really large range of motion.
  2. The Acromioclavicular Joint, also known as the AC joint. It is made up of the acromion (part of the shoulder blade) and the collar bone (clavicle).
  3. The Sternoclavicular Joint, SC joint. It is made up of where the breastbone (sternum) joins together with the collar bone (clavicle).

These joints are all surrounded by a joint capsule and then stabilized and supported by ligaments, muscles and tendons.

The ligaments attach from bone to bone and provide stability.

The tendons are cord like and attach muscle to bone to assist the muscle in moving the bone and joints.

The main muscles of the shoulder consist of the rotator cuff muscles. There are many other muscles of the shoulder girdle as well which act to stabilizing and moving the shoulder. Muscles of the neck and upper back also attach onto and around the shoulder work in conjunction with the rotator cuff muscles to support, stabilize and move the shoulder joints.

There are also bursa, which are sac like structures that sit between the tendons, bones and muscles. The bursae allow for smooth motion and gliding of the joint to occur and protect the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles from the bony structure of the acromion of the scapula.

Hence shoulder problems can be caused from a multitude of issues related to one or many of the above structures.

Shoulder pain come in many different ways and can be caused by many different conditions.

It may present as:

  • Unilateral (on one side) or be bilateral (both sides)
  • Diffuse pain and travel to other parts of the shoulder, arm, neck or back, or be localized to one spot
  • Acute pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Intense
  • Dull
  • Sharp
  • Achey
  • Numbness
  • Pins and Needles
  • Weakness
  • Catching
  • Stiffness

Causes of Shoulder Pain may include:

  • Traumatic injury often from a fall, car accident or sporting injury causing,
    • Fracture of the clavicle, humerus, scapula, or cervical or thoracic vertebrae,
    • Dislocation of the shoulder joint,
    • Tendon or ligament complaints such as rupture or tear,
    • Muscle spasm,
  • Non Traumatic Injury may lead to complaints which include:
  • Tendonitis in the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder
  • Arthritis in the Shoulder
  • Arthritis in the Neck which causes referred pain into the shoulder
  • Bursitis of the shoulder
  • Adhesive Capsulitis or commonly known as Frozen Shoulder
  • Impingement Syndrome of the shoulder
  • Labrum tear in the shoulder joint
  • Disc pathology in the neck and upper back – degeneration, bulge or prolapse causing referred pain to the shoulder
  • Postural complaints leading to muscle spasms, shoulder pain and headaches with associated muscle and joint tightness in neck, upper back, shoulders, and lower back – as well as contributing to some of the complaints above
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome causing shoulder pain

osteopathic treatment for shoulder pain

More serious and immediate medical attention must be given if the shoulder pain presents with accompanying chest pain, shortness of breath, fever, clamminess, pins and needles in the arm/hand, disorientation, nausea and fainting. See your GP or go to the closest emergency department at hospital or call 000 for an ambulance immediately.

Shoulder pain can be diffuse or pin point in its location.

It can cause significant issues with restriction of movement of the shoulder joint, as well as the neck, upper back and movement of the body while walking.

It may cause problems to sleep, either on the affected side, or in any comfortable position.

Shoulder pain can be sharp, dull, diffuse, widespread and aching.

Shoulder problems are diagnosed by:

  • The patients medical history
  • Physical Examination of the patient which includes:
    • Location of pain
    • Movements available
    • Muscle, Joint and Reflex testing
    • Appropriate Orthopaedic testing for the shoulder, neck, back as indicated
    • Referral for scans such as Ultrasound, CT or MRI

The diagnosis of the shoulder complaint will lead to best management and outcome for the patient.

This may include hands on therapy, active rehabilitation program, taping and strapping, oral medication, steroid injection or surgery.

Osteopathic treatment for shoulder pain, and its related conditions or pain, will help diagnose, treat, rehabilitate, and educate you on your condition. Each treatment and rehab program will be designed for you ONLY.

Categories: General Information