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Ouch, What’s Wrong With My Shoulder?

Shoulder Pain

Ouch, what’s wrong with my shoulder?

Shoulder pain has always been something that brings a lot of people into a Physiotherapy clinic.  As Physiotherapist that has worked in both the NHS and Private sector, I can confirm it is a very common problem.

But more recently there has been a big increase in people coming to see me with really painful shoulders.

So what has changed...and why are shoulders such a painful and problematic joint?

To answer both of these questions, we will explore the types of activities that are common causes of shoulder pain, as well as why the anatomy of the shoulder makes it the perfect joint to cause no end of problems.

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint – that means it has a lot of movement in lots of different directions.  But there are also other joints that encompass the shoulder girdle, which include the joint with the clavicle (collar bone) and scapula (shoulder blade). The fact that the joints are very mobile, very complex, and rely heavily on good muscular control, is the main reason for shoulder pain.

A simple change in how the shoulder girdle as a whole is moving together can cause pinching or ‘impingement’ of tendons, ligaments and the bursa that run between the joints.  This can then lead to inflammation and ‘PAIN’  This will then effect how the shoulder is moving even more and the vicious cycle continues. 

This change could come from poor postures over time, a repetitive movement, or perhaps taking up a new hobby or skill which your body just wasn’t prepared for.

So what kind of activities may cause shoulder pain (especially if done repeatedly or as a new/untrained movement).  Firstly, there is overhead activity – perhaps you are a painter/decorator, or plasterer...or maybe just doing some DIY.  Maybe you play sport which is involves a lot of throwing or use of a racket.  Perhaps you have a job where you sit or stand in poor postures for long periods of time – for instance a hairdresser or a sedentary desk-based job.  Repetition of any activity is often the key to identifying the root cause of pain.

Of course, there are other reasons for shoulder pain – an injury to the area from falling or impact is one obvious example. You may get referred pain from the neck or upper back into the shoulder area.  You could have some degenerative changes that are associated with ageing such as wear and tear of the tendons or the joint itself (arthritis). 

But that is not only what I am seeing at the moment.  Right now, there are young, fit and healthy people with new onset shoulder pain, and lots of them. And from what I can tell there are two main causes.

The first is the uptake of new hobbies – both within sport and the DIY field.  Lockdown has led us all to re-evaluate what is important to us, and led a lot of people to try new things.  This is wonderful, but also the cause of some serious pain when the body fights back or poor techniques are used.

The second is that so many of us are working from home, and a significant number of people are unable to work ergonomically, meaning there is extra stress and strain on their joints from prolonged poor postures.


What can we do about it – it’s simple really.  We need to correct these issues.

The correct training and postures will eliminate the cause of pain in 90% of these cases.  And if in doubt seek help...it may be a simple fix that can get rid of your shoulder pain forever!

Physiotherapy treatment will help to identify the cause of your symptoms, calm down those symptoms with hands on treatment and we will give you the tools to help manage and treat it, and help you to understand how to prevent any further problems in the future. It’s as simple as that!!



Wendy founded WDC in September 2006. She has worked in both the public and private sectors. Within the NHS, Wendy worked as a Senior Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and an Extended Scope Practitioner Physiotherapist as part of an Orthopaedic Consultant’s team specialising in Shoulder Pain. Wendy has treated royalty for Shoulder pain through referrals from her close links with a top Orthopaedic Shoulder Surgeon. More recently, Wendy has been the sole choice physiotherapist for all Essex-based referrals from London Shoulder surgeon Mr Matthew Sala. Wendy also worked within the national rugby union as the head physiotherapist for Southend Rugby Football Club. She led the medical service at the club for 11 years, working with players who achieved county honours and representative honours for various countries such as England, Samoa, Australia, and New Zealand.
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