Common causes of shoulder pain

Living with shoulder pain isn’t easy. Discomfort and pain can not only make it difficult to get through daily life, they can also stop you from participating in your favourite activities. 

With summer now in full swing, we wouldn’t want sore shoulders preventing you from having an action-packed season. In this post, we explore common causes of shoulder pain and share how physiotherapy in Twickenham can help relieve pain so that you can enjoy summer to the fullest.  

Please bear in mind that although the information and tips in this article are helpful in treating shoulder pain, for specific advice and guidance, please contact a physiotherapist for a professional assessment.

Understanding your shoulders

Your shoulders are the joints where your shoulder blades, upper arm bones and collarbone meet. It’s the shoulder’s ball-and-socket joint that allows you to move your arm and enjoy fluidity of motion. Repeated stress to your shoulders due to your work or sporting activities can result in injuries or tears. 

If you suspect a shoulder injury, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can you move your shoulder normally or is it stiff and painful? 
  • Does it feel like your shoulder could pop out of its socket at any moment?
  • Does your shoulder have the strength to do the things it normally does? 

What causes shoulder pain?

Sore shoulders can result from a variety of factors. For example, you may injure your shoulder in a fall or accident. Perhaps you’ve painted excessively and overdone it. Shoulder pain can even come as a side effect of other conditions such as arthritis. 

Here are some common causes of shoulder pain: 


When you repeat the same movement again and again, the bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that cushion the shoulder joint, can become inflamed and irritated. The swelling of bursae can also result from a fall or injury. People with bursitis will feel pain when they move their shoulder. 

Rotator cuff tears

The group of tendons that support the arm and allow motion, including overhead movement, is known as the rotator cuff. While it can be damaged through a fall or overuse, it also naturally experiences wear and tear as you age. When the rotator cuff tears, lifting things can become painful. 

Cartilage (labrum) tears

The shoulder labrum is a rubbery padding that encircles the rim of the shoulder joint. It can be injured as a result of doing a repeated motion for prolonged periods of time. It can also become damaged after a fall. If your shoulder labrum is torn, reaching over your head can give you the sensation that your shoulder is weak. 

Treating shoulder pain at home

Relieving shoulder pain is centred around soothing inflammation and strengthening muscles. You can relieve inflammation by taking anti-inflammatory medication and/or applying a cold compress to the affected area. 

Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel and apply it for no longer than 10 minutes. Likewise, heat therapy from a heating pad or a hot water bottle can help relax tense muscles and reduce stiffness. 

Regular shoulder stretches and exercises can also promote shoulder strength and flexibility. For example, a pendulum stretch or overhead stretch can help with range of motion. 

How can physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapy is a holistic approach that involves hands-on techniques to help restore movement and function. It’s helpful for people of all ages and is highly effective at treating issues to do with the bones, joints and soft tissue. 

Thanks to physiotherapy, you can speed up your recovery and work towards regaining your full range of movement. Our professional physiotherapists will be happy to assess your shoulder and provide tailored exercise and physical activity advice to help relieve your symptoms. 

Get in touch

If you’re dealing with shoulder pain, you may benefit from physiotherapy  in Twickenham. S, please do not hesitate to get in touch by calling us on 020 8898 1231. Our friendly practitioners will be happy to answer any of your questions and assist you on your journey to recovery.