Shoulder pain is a common source of pain and can be caused by numerous conditions including:

  • Rotator cuff related shoulder pain – The Rotator Cuff muscles are a group of four muscles that control and provide stability to the shoulder. They may cause pain in the shoulder or upper arm, particularly when lifting the arm, lying on it in bed or using the muscles during activities such as washing and getting dressed.
  • Acromioclavicular joint pain – This joint is the bony prominence at the top of the shoulder and is the junction between the collar bone and the shoulder blade. Often pain in the joint presents over a gradually and is associated with osteoarthritis and normal degenerative joint changes; however it can also be injured with a trauma or fall.
  • Frozen shoulder – This very painful condition is also associated with increased stiffness and restriction of all shoulder movements and activities. It is commonly extremely painful at night causing problems sleeping and is severely limiting with all activities such as washing and dressing.
  • Referred shoulder pain – Shoulder problems most commonly causes pain in the upper arm and shoulder itself; however the pain and symptoms may actually be coming from another source such as the neck.
  • Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis of the shoulder, is caused by normal age related changes within the ball and socket joint of the shoulder. It is much less common than arthritis in other joints of the body such as the knees or hips and may cause pain and stiffness over a period of months or years. Symptoms can sometimes be triggered after an injury or fall.
  • Shoulder instability – This is often associated with an acute injury such as a dislocation, or with laxity and weakness in the shoulder muscles which cause excessive movement of the shoulder joint.

Click on the links to the left to find out more about each condition and how to manage the symptoms and pain.

Dealing with Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can usually be easily managed by you, at home. Simply reducing or stopping the activity that has caused the pain can make an enormous difference.

Painkillers such as paracetemol can also be used to help manage the symptoms, but you should always consult your GP or pharmacist before taking.

Click on the relevant condition using the links on the left, to find out more about dealing with shoulder pain.


Avoiding Shoulder Pain

Avoiding rotator cuff problems 

  • Avoid excessive unaccustomed activity with the hands above shoulder height e.g. doing tasks like painting the ceiling, hanging curtains and trimming the hedge in short periods of time 
  • If you exercise, ensure you balance your training programme to incorporate strength work for all muscle groups 
  • Take breaks from repetitive shoulder movements and heavy lifting 


Avoiding acromioclavicular joint pain 

  • Avoid excessive overhead activities 


Avoiding referred shoulder pain 

  • Poor posture is a common cause of referred pain in your shoulder and often can be managed by merely improving your posture and keeping your neck moving 


Avoiding osteoarthritis 

  • Wear and tear arthritis (osteoarthritis) occurs with age. Keeping yourself fit and active, with correct shoulder and neck posture as well as keeping your shoulders strong and flexible can help to alleviate and manage your shoulder symptoms.