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Shoulder pain

Treatments available for shoulder problems

  • Osteopathy
  • Medical Acupuncture
  • Massage

Shoulder pain is among the most common complaints in medical practice. Two thirds of the adult population experience a period of shoulder pain at least once in their lifetime. There are different pathologies which can cause shoulder pain and dysfunctions of the shoulder.

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Treatment may aim to restore full motion at the joint, improve muscle function or nerve control of those muscles. Where adhesions exist (frozen shoulder / adhesive capsulitis), gentle stimulation to the area can help the body start its own repair. More forceful manipulation can be used if necessary.

A study [1] evaluated the effectiveness of osteopathic treatment on patients suffering from shoulder pain. This study found that four osteopathic treatments over a period of eight weeks led to clinically relevant positive changes in shoulder pain and its impact on everyday life activities.

Leicester Osteopathic Clinic

Similarly to Physiotherapy in some ways, Osteopathy uses a range of physical techniques to promote healing. Possible treatments include:

  • massage – where the Osteopath uses their hands to manipulate your shoulder
  • laser therapy – where the energy from lasers (narrow beams of light) are used to stimulate your nervous system and reduce pain
  • ultrasound can be used to warm up an area of muscle before the Osteopath manipulated it. It can also be used to stimulate cellular repair.

As well as these treatment methods, your Osteopath may recommend shoulder exercises. These will be specific for your needs. For example, if you have shoulder instability, you may be given exercises that will strengthen your rotator cuff muscles.

Shoulder exercises

If you have shoulder pain, you need to keep your shoulder joint moving by doing gentle, regular exercise. Not using your shoulder can increase stiffness and cause your muscles to waste away. Always try to keep using your shoulder as normal rather than protecting it too much.

If your shoulder is very stiff, exercise may be painful. Your Osteopath can give you some exercises that you can do without further damaging your shoulder. You may feel some soreness after your exercise but you should slowly notice improved function in your shoulder and arm as the muscle and joint repairs itself.


[1] Bube, J., Hettasch J. et.al., "Osteopathic treatment of patients with shoulder pain: A randomized controlled trial"
International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, September 2010 (Vol. 13, Issue 3, Page 118)

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