Shoulder pain is a common complaint, and can be for many different reasons. We use our shoulders to push, pull, lift. It is a stable base from which the rest of our arm moves. If your shoulder is very painful and affecting you in carrying out day to day tasks, it can be concerning. However, a shoulder complaint is rarely due to anything serious, and in most cases will get better by itself with time.

How Can I Help Myself?

There are actions you can take to help yourself while your shoulder is sore. You could make a few adjustments to what you do, but try to continue to use the shoulder as normally as possible. Some examples of changing how you use your shoulder would be to:

  • Take more breaks, do ‘little and often’.
  • Change how you do an activity.
  • Ask for help with things that you find uncomfortable.
  • You can also try taking pain relief medication and/or using ice or heat.

What Exercise Can I Do?

It is safe to exercise even if your shoulder is sore or uncomfortable. Exercise is important to regain movement, strength and normal activity of the shoulder again. If you continue to go to the gym, an exercise class, or swimming you may want to change how much you do for a time.
There are some examples of exercises to do below. You can use our symptom tracker to check if what you are doing is helping you to improve.

Would an X-Ray or Scan Help?

X-rays and scans can help for a small number of people and in certain situations. However, most of the time it shows us things that are normal for the age of your shoulder and are not related to your pain. These sorts of findings will not help the shoulder get better. This is why your GP or Clinician has said it may not be needed.

Should I Self-Refer?

Occasionally you may need some extra help to get your lower back pain better.
If you feel you would like to talk to a healthcare professional to help you further with your back you can fill in a self referral form.