BLOG

How osteopath helps shoulder pain

How can osteopathy help with shoulder pain?

What can cause shoulder pain?

Shoulder pain is a very common complaint we see every day.

However, it is difficult to find out what is causing the issue because any pain felt in the shoulder will affect the joint as though the pain is coming from the joint.  

The main causes of shoulder pain can be:

BUT it can also be caused by other medical conditions from the viscera (organs) like:

  • Undiagnosed heart conditions
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Gallbladder
  • Liver issues
  • Something going on in the lungs
  • Kidneys

Or from other structures:

  • Neck
  • Diaphragm (breathing)
How osteopath helps shoulder pain

How can we help?

Your osteopath is well trained to understand that this area is too important to simply presume you have sore muscles or a grumpy joint.

It is not uncommon for an older adult to state their shoulder pain is from overdoing it. However, we take caution that if you are over the age of 65 years, we must also screen for visceral or bodywide issues – even if you have an injury or a known situation. 

We will perform a thorough exam

We need to take a holistic approach by asking questions about your previous health history* and injuries and any signs and symptoms you are experiencing. 

Take your shoulder through specific shoulder tests

With so many muscles feeding into the joint. We  test the shoulder muscles, joint ranges and other areas (neck, upper back, diaphragm) that could be involved.

We need to be able to replicate what you have been feeling and if we cannot – we need to be suspicious and find the reason for your issue through a referral or imaging.

Natural osteopathic treatment and management

We do see people who have already seen a physiotherapist or chiropractor, which is great. The common issue is you are still in a great amount of pain and are unable to do exercises or you have tried but it is still too sore to do.  We fit in really well with other health practitioners as we can do more hands-on treatment so you can get back to doing those exercises. 

We can help to

  • relax the muscles that are stiff and sore,
  • create more space with and around the shoulder joint(s),
  • help your nerves glide better (especially if you have been getting pins and needles or numbness),
  • use soft tissue (massage) and resistance and stretching techniques

We will explain what is going on and educate you with knowing what to do whilst it is healing and unhappy.

You will be given advice on any stretches or strengthening exercises we feel will be of benefit and if you are already underway with a rehabilitation programme we will work alongside this programme. 

Further investigations

If we think or suspect this is not a musculoskeletal issue and is coming from a visceral organ such as heart, gallbladder or stomach we can refer to your GP or hospital.

How many sessions will I neeed?

This will depend on what is going on.

Typically 4-5 sessions can get you back to pre-injury if you see us early on in the picture this will help you to avoid further interventions such as surgery. 

Ongoing shoulder issues, muscle imbalances from postural issues,  post-surgery (longer than 3 months), and frozen shoulder can take up to 3-12 months.

This includes a rehabilitation programme and/or referral to a specialist for further assessment if required (especially if the shoulder is non-responsive).

*Your private information will only be seen by your therapist.

Anj Young founded Top Notch Bodyworks. She was a fitness instructor for the RNZAF for 13 years, a qualified physiotherapist, massage therapist and osteopath. Her and the team at Top Notch Bodyworks know their stuff and can help support you with your body concerns. Our osteopaths and neuromuscular therapists are also qualified to work with you at any stage of your injury or ongoing concerns.