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Top Tips for managing new shoulder pain

Shoulder pain is difficult to live with and often complex to diagnose and treat and sadly there is no one size fits all approach. It is often best to seek Physio assessment and treatment especially if your symptoms follow an injury or are severe and not improving,

however if you have a fairly new onset of a problem or longstanding but fairly mild symptoms then you may benefit from some general advice and tips.

Shoulder pain is very common and is usually from tendons or the main joint. It can come on suddenly following trauma or more gradually especially following new or unaccustomed activities. The bad news is that it can take 6-12 weeks+ to improve, however good self management, and where appropriate engaging in a Physio led exercise programme can significantly help. Studies show that even with more persistent shoulder pain conservative management involving exercises is often better than surgery.

  • Rest from any provoking activity rather than pushing into pain

  • Consider a short period of over the counter pain relief (if in doubt seek pharmacist advice)

  • Use the affected arm for light every day activities where the hand is below shoulder height, rather than stopping moving entirely

  • Continue other general exercises eg brisk walk/ cycling.

  • Use a step or stool to reach up to higher cupboards etc supporting with the other hand

  • Consider using a pillow at night to rest arm on alongside body

  • Gradually re-introduce using arm above shoulder height/ more demanding activities as symptoms settle

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