5 Tips to Conquer Shoulder Pain


Shoulder pain giving you grief?

Does it feel like your shoulder pain is getting in the way of your training and generally aggravating your everyday movements?

That’s because we use our shoulders a lot!  Dumbbell presses are out of course when your shoulder is injured, but – more than likely – so is your arm and chest workout, even your squats, when you think about the positioning of your arms with a barbell.  Then there’s your sleep, if you’re a side sleeper (like me!).  Or perhaps even putting your shirt on.

See Below – on the anatomy of the shoulder.

Anatomy of the shoulder

The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint. It can move in all directions and has the greatest range of motion of all joints in the human body.

The shoulder complex or shoulder girdle is composed by 4 joints. Those joints are the sternum-clavicular joint, the acromion-clavicular joint, the glenohumeral joint, and the scapulothoracic joint. Out of the four, the most mobile joint is the glenohumeral joint or the shoulder joint.

Unfortunately, the shoulder joint, by being the most mobile joint, it gives up stability for mobility. This means the joint is prone to dislocation and injuries.

Dysfunction in and around the shoulder joint can cause pain and restriction of movement not only locally, but can also affect neighbouring areas, such as the neck and upper back – as well as all the nagging problems I mentioned above that you might be experiencing.


Next, are my five tips to help you with your shoulder pain:

1.    First up, get an assessment by a movement specialist, such as an Osteopathic Practitioner or a Physiotherapist.  We are experts, not only at human body movements, but we will determine the cause of the problem.  This is key to giving you an effective treatment plan.  Depending on the cause of the problem, we will prescribe a targeted treatment plan to help relieve symptoms and restore function.


2.    Avoid lifting anything heavy or any movements that aggravates the injury.  This is what is called the maintaining factor.  The maintaining factor is anything that triggers the injury.  It might be, for example, reaching your arms overhead, sleeping on the symptomatic side or something as simple as computer work.


3.    For an acute injury – perhaps an injury at the gym, or a collision to the shoulder, playing sports, a fall, even repetitive movements – you will likely experience pain, swelling, redness, warmth and restriction in your movements – these are the cardinal signs of inflammation.  Take some rest.  Give your body some time to heal and let the inflammation go down.  An ice pack can help in reducing inflammation.  Most importantly, do not completely stop moving your shoulder.  See an Osteopathic Practitioner or a Physiotherapist so that we can introduce some gentle movements and provide you with a graded training program that focuses on getting your range and strength back.  See tip 4!


4.    Shoulder rehabilitation is a journey, not an instant, quick fix.  But we want your journey to be as short as possible.  An Osteopathic Practitioner or a Physiotherapist will know when to introduce the right sort of exercises, such as those focused on improving your range of motion, usually at first without any resistance.  We will then progress you to isometric exercises – keeping the muscles in one place (static) but placing your muscles under resistance.  We’ll then progress you to concentric and eccentric exercises – where we introduce resistance to the muscles in different stages of movement.  You’ll then be ready for dynamic and functional exercises, such as sports specific exercises.


5.    Finally, my friend … patience is your friend.  It’s important to be patient during this time and not get frustrated.  Stay positive.  I know we all have expectations of getting better and getting back to normal as quickly as possible – trust me, even a mild shoulder injury can take up to six weeks to fully heal.



Rodrigo Almeida is a register Osteopathic Manual Practitioner at Ace Sports Clinic.

We’d love to be part of your rehabilitation journey.  Book an appointment with Rodrigo, or any of our Ace Certified Practitioners today and experience the joy of optimal shoulder motion.