Shoulder pain

Edited by Dr Claudia Pastides, 1st April 2019

Musculoskeletal shoulder pain is very common and will usually improve by itself.


Causes

The cause of pain can lie within muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones of the shoulder joint.


Risk factors

  • Physically demanding work
  • Sports involving regular, repetitive movements


Typical Symptoms

  • Shoulder pain, worse with movement
  • Difficulty moving the shoulder
  • Difficulty in combing hair or stretching arm to the back
  • Weakness in the affected arm


Common Treatment

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Over the counter or prescribed pain relievers
  • Physical therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Specialist treatment or surgery


When to speak to a doctor

Musculoskeletal pain that hasn’t improved after 2 weeks can often be initially managed via a digital consultation. If the GP decides you need a face to face appointment, they will discuss what steps you can take next.

To speak to one of our Babylon GPs, download the app and create an account today.

It is important to speak urgently to a doctor if you are:

  • In very severe pain
  • Seeing swelling in the shoulder
  • Having numbness in the arm or hand


Prevention

Musculoskeletal shoulder pain can be managed and prevented by:

  • Avoiding physically demanding work
  • Avoiding sports involving regular, repetitive movements


More information

NHS - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/shoulder-pain/