Diagnosing shoulder pain

At Kensington Physio one of the conditions we commonly and successfully treat is shoulder pain.  There are many different causes and pathologies responsible for shoulder pain.  Normally the patient will present with pain in the left or right shoulder and on rare occasions they will report bilateral (both sides) shoulder pain.

Your physiotherapist will initially ask you lots of questions to decipher the nature and onset of your condition, the site of your shoulder pain and what activities makes it worse. A full objective shoulder assessment will follow to not only find out the underlying cause of the problem, but also to give us a good idea on what treatment will be most appropriate


Sites of shoulder pain

Shoulder pain is most commonly felt anteriorly (at the front of the shoulder), posteriorly (at the back of the shoulder) or tracking down the upper arm (deltoid region).   Some clients report both shoulder and elbow or arm pain, which may be accompanied by neurological symptoms like tingling and numbness down the arm.


Common shoulder conditions

One of the most common causes for non-traumatic shoulder pain tends to be some form of shoulder impingement, as a result of inflammation.  Some conditions such as shoulder arthritis and ‘frozen shoulder’ may come on very gradually and will also lead to joint stiffness.  In instances where shoulder pain is also felt tracking into the arm and hand, we as physios need to ensure the symptoms are not arising from the neck.  In such instances a neck and neurological screening will be also be conducted.

On rare occasions, clients present with both chest and shoulder pain.  Causes for this may include costo-chondritis, pectoral strains, cardiac involvement, pleurisy or even rib fractures.  This is why careful questioning and professional musculoskeletal assessment is required to ensure a sound diagnosis.

With a history of trauma such as a fall, your physio will need to rule out structural damage such as a fracture, ligament damage or muscles tears.   It is extremely rare that shoulder pain is the result of serious pathology such as cancer.  However if there is ever any cause for concern your physiotherapist will send you off for a prompt scan to put your mind at rest.


Treating the shoulder

The good news is that many of these conditions can be effectively treated and resolved with the right physiotherapy care.  At Kensington Physio we successfully treat shoulder pain in a manner of ways, depending on your diagnosis.  These may include manual therapy, manipulations, electrotherapy, soft tissue release and stretching and rotator cuff strengthening.   All of our physiotherapists are also qualified to use acupuncture for relieving shoulder pain and muscle tightness.

We also work alongside London’s top shoulder consultants to allow for prompt scanning and onward referral where indicated.


Contact Information

To book an initial consultation for you shoulder with one of our expert physiotherapists, please call us on 0207 6030040 or email us at info@kenphysio.com.