Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain refers to any discomfort or pain experienced in or around the shoulder joint. The
shoulder is a complex structure consisting of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft
tissues, all of which can be sources of pain. Shoulder pain can range from mild to severe and may be
acute (sudden onset) or chronic (persistent or recurring).

Common causes of shoulder pain include:

Rotator Cuff Injuries: The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that stabilise the shoulder
joint and facilitate movement. Injuries to the rotator cuff, such as strains, tears, or tendinopathy, can cause pain, weakness, and limited range of motion.

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome: This occurs when the rotator cuff tendons or bursa (fluid-filled
sacs) in the shoulder become compressed or irritated, typically due to repetitive overhead
movements or poor shoulder mechanics. Shoulder impingement can cause pain, especially with
reaching or lifting the arm.

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis): Frozen shoulder is a condition characterised by stiffness and
pain in the shoulder joint with the exclusion of osteoarthritis, often accompanied by limited range of
motion. It typically develops gradually over time and may be associated with inflammation and
thickening of the shoulder capsule.

Shoulder Instability: Instability of the shoulder joint can result from ligamentous laxity, previous
dislocations, or repetitive overhead activities. Individuals with shoulder instability may experience
pain, a feeling of “looseness” or “slipping” in the shoulder, and recurrent episodes of joint dislocation.

Shoulder Arthritis: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other inflammatory conditions can affect
the shoulder joint, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling. Arthritic changes in the shoulder joint can
lead to decreased range of motion and functional impairment.

Bursitis: Bursitis occurs when the bursae, small fluid-filled sacs that cushion and reduce friction
between bones, tendons, and muscles, become inflamed. Bursitis in the shoulder can cause localised
pain and tenderness, particularly with movement or pressure on the affected area.

Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Injuries: Injuries to the AC joint, which is located at the top of the
shoulder where the collarbone (clavicle) meets the acromion (part of the shoulder blade), can result
from trauma or repetitive stress. AC joint injuries may cause pain and tenderness over the joint,
especially with overhead activities or pressure on the shoulder.

Other common causes of shoulder pain include fractures, nerve compression or injury, referred pain
from the neck or upper back, and systemic conditions such as heart disease or gallbladder disease.
Prompt evaluation by a healthcare professional is essential to determine the underlying cause of
shoulder pain and initiate appropriate treatment.

Physiotherapists at Physio Connex Performance Clinic in North Wyong play a crucial role in the
assessment, treatment, and management of shoulder pain.

Here are some ways in which our Physio Connex team can help individuals experiencing shoulder

Assessment and Diagnosis: Our Physiotherapists begin by conducting a thorough 60-minute
assessment to identify the underlying cause of shoulder pain. This includes a detailed history,
physical examination, and possibly diagnostic imaging such as X-rays or MRI scans.

Pain Management: Our injury management team can employ various techniques to help manage
pain associated with shoulder injuries. This may include manual therapy techniques such as
massage, joint mobilisations, dry needling, cupping therapy or soft tissue manipulation.
Exercise Prescription: Our Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists design personalised exercise
programs to improve shoulder strength, flexibility, and stability. These exercises may include
stretching, strengthening, and range of motion exercises tailored to the individual’s specific
condition and goals.

Manual Therapy: Our physiotherapists perform hands-on techniques such as massage, joint
mobilisations and manipulations can help restore normal shoulder joint mechanics, reduce pain, and
improve function. Soft tissue techniques performed by our massage therapists such as clinical
remedial massage or myofascial release may also be used to address muscle tightness and trigger

Postural Correction: Poor posture can contribute to shoulder pain and dysfunction. Our
Physiotherapists & Exercise Physiologists provide education and exercises to improve posture and
alignment, reducing stress on the shoulder joints and muscles.

Biomechanical Assessment: Our Physiotherapists assess movement patterns and biomechanics
related to shoulder function. By identifying and addressing any faulty movement patterns or muscle
imbalances, our physiotherapists can help improve overall shoulder mechanics and reduce the risk
of further injury.

Activity Modification and Ergonomic Advice: Our Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists
provide guidance on modifying activities or ergonomic adjustments to reduce strain on the shoulder
during daily tasks or sports activities. This may include recommendations for proper lifting
techniques, workstation setup, or sports-specific techniques.

Education and Self-Management Strategies: Our injury management team educate patients about
their shoulder condition, including factors contributing to pain and strategies for self-management.

This may include advice on home exercises, activity modification, pain management techniques, and
injury prevention strategies.

Progressive Rehabilitation: As the individual’s shoulder pain improves, our physiotherapists
gradually progress the rehabilitation program to include more challenging exercises and activities.
This helps ensure optimal recovery and a safe return to normal function and activities.

Overall, the Physio Connex team use a multifaceted approach to help individuals with shoulder pain,
addressing not only symptoms but also underlying causes and contributing factors to promote
optimal recovery and prevent recurrence of injury.

Meet the Physio team
Find out more about our Physio Connex Physiotherapists

Meet the Exercise Physiology and Strength and Conditioning team
Find out more about our Physio Connex Exercise Physiologist & Strength and Conditioning Coach

Meet the Massage team
Find out more about our Physio Connex Massage Therapist

Find out more about how Physio Connex can get you back in the game quicker.