Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain

What is it?

There are many types of shoulder pain, and like back and neck pain it is something we see a lot of in our clinic.

  • Sub-Acromial Impingement
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
Shoulder Pain

Sub-Acromial Impingement

What is it?
Sub-acromial impingement can be a very painful condition affecting the shoulder joint. The acromion is a bony shelf forming the roof of the shoulder joint, and the condition’s name means that tissues below the acromion can become pinched and then become swollen and sore.

What causes it?
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint and simply put, the ball is held in place by the action of a group of muscles called the rotator cuff. When we lift our arm above our head, the cuff muscles control the position of the humeral head in the socket. If the cuff muscles aren’t working properly then the ball can ride up in the socket and cause and impingement.

Sometimes the pain can be mechanical in nature, such as a sharp pain on certain movements. (Patients with this often have a painful arc of movement (which is pain at the range of 90 – 120 degrees of abduction), or if the tissues have been pinched for some time they can become very inflamed, and give lots of pain at rest, especially at night time when lying on that side.

What can we do for it?
Our physios can make sure that your rotator cuff muscles are working properly, if there is an imbalance in the muscles of the cuff, if one is too tight, or too weak, their synergistic action can be affected and the cuff can become dysfunctional. We also think that upper back flexibility and shoulder blade position can have an effect on the shoulder joint mechanics, so we will check these out too and make sure everything is moving as it should.

If pain is a very big issue we can use acupuncture, if shoulder blade positioning is a problem we use our kinesiotaping techniques, but mainly it’s specific exercise therapy that’s prescribed for this injury.

If the shoulder is particularly painful we may suggest you have a steroid injection before starting some rehab, and in some (few) cases we may suggest you see a surgeon, as sometimes patients need a sub-acromial decompression (often keyhole).

Shoulder Pain

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is simply the nickname that has been attached to a condition called Adhesive Capsulitis.

Adhesive Capsulitis refers to a condition in which the shoulder joint capsule (the connective tissue which encases the joint) becomes tight, restricted and inflamed.

As a result the patient is left with a stiff and, often, very painful shoulder.

The cause of this condition is not fully understood. Some patients will develop the problem post trauma or injury, however in many cases it will present without any physical stress or strain. Some research has suggested an increased risk of frozen shoulder in diabetes patients. There is also evidence that suggests it is more prevalent in women and will commonly affect us in our middle age, roughly between the ages of 40-60 years.

The vast majority of patients suffering with frozen shoulder will respond well to Physiotherapy treatment alone. This will often involve an exercise programme and manual treatments focussed on restoring shoulder range of motion.

Occasionally, some patients may also consult their doctor regarding steroid injections to reduce inflammation and ease pain. However, the research suggests that the vast majority of patients will recover within 12-18months of developing the problem, and Physiotherapy remains the most evidenced based way to facilitate a full recovery.

Shoulder Pain

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy

The Rotator cuff is a group of tendons in the shoulder that have a role in stabilising the shoulder and allowing it to move efficiently.

For many years now, we have been using the term tendonitis, meaning pain coming from the tendons caused by inflammation. However, current research has helped to dispel the myth that tendons become inflamed, instead we now know that the tendons become sensitive to being loaded often after some form of physical overloading. (Such has hours of hedge cutting, or painting the ceiling.) It is therefore often referred to as a reactive tendinopathy.

The reason it is important to address this change in the evidence base, is that if our belief is that the rotator cuff is damaged and inflamed, our response is naturally one of rest and avoidance. However, the main purpose of the rotator cuff muscles is to allow us to effectively load through the shoulder. So resting only deconditions the shoulder further and makes it less able and less tolerant of physical stress and strain. A vicious circle.

So, we now know that as Physiotherapists, that we need to help patients to progressively load their shoulder through carefully graded rehabilitative exercise. This is essential, in order to regain strength and function and, of course, to de-sensitise the painful rotator cuff.

To arrange an appointment or to speak to a physiotherapist, call us on 01212576360 or email

  • Testimonials

    "The physiotherapy service I’ve received at Physio Art from Ruth has been absolutely life changing. I’ve never been stronger, more mobile or more aware of my own body. The exercises in the app have been easy to follow and remember, and more importantly I’ve been able to step down from more invasive treatment for my back and get back to work."


  • Testimonials

    "Sophie has helped me rehab a long standing shoulder issue resulting from overuse of playing tennis and other racket sports. She was quick to identify the condition, gave an accurate timeline of recovery and helped my put in place various exercises over the next few months to get to a state where I can exercise and play sports free of the pain again. I'd highly recommend Sophie and Physio Art."


  • Testimonials

    "There is nowhere else I would go than Physio Art. My 11-year old son had an emergency appointment with Adhip for a very painful lower leg and he was absolutely brilliant. His knowledge and advice was excellent and the results began to show during the appointment. Every physio we have seen there has been highly professional, incredibly helpful and so kind. "


  • Testimonials

    "I have complete trust in Sarah whom I have seen on a number of occasions for different problems. She always listens intently and delves deep into my experience so I feel completely confident in the course of treatment she recommends. I love that she is so good at explaining what is affecting the problem and often there is more at play than just the mechanics of the body. Any consultation with Sarah is fascinating as well as healing!"


  • Testimonials

    "I have been a Physio Art client for many years, accessing physios for both injury and long term back problems as well as Pilates classes. Sarah and her team have my full trust and I don’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone. Their knowledge and care is second to none and they always go that extra mile to ensure that the treatment and advice you receive is personalised to your needs."

  • Testimonials

    "Physioart has built itself to be a clinic with a special vibe about it, a relaxed but professional space that allows the clients to feel listened to, whilst also knowing their receiving the optimum evidence based care. The physios working here really know their stuff, and are genuinely kind and brilliant people. "

  • Testimonials

    "I have used the services of Physio Art to treat three different conditions with a successful outcome on each occasion. Grateful thanks to both Sarah and Sophie. I have no hesitation in recommending Physio Art."

  • Testimonials

    "A vibrant and energetic clinic with top class comprehensive treatment. The professionalism was second to none and I couldn’t recommend this clinic highly enough. Sarah Duncton, the founder is so passionate and dedicated to her patient’s every need."


  • Testimonials

    "Sophie is an absolute life saver. Visited her with very bad pain in my shoulder & neck due to extremely tight muscles. An hour later I left feeling looser and my pain significantly reduced."


  • Testimonials

    "All the physios at PhysioArt are amazing and really know what they’re talking about. They treat their clients with empathy and understanding and make sure they are working towards the clients individual goals. Would definitely recommend."


    Book an Appointment

    If you would like to book an appointment or have any questions then please get in touch using one of the methods below.

    Send Us A Message

    Contact Info



    Our Location

    165 Knightlow Road, Harborne, B17 8PY

    Our Email

    Working Hours

    Mon-Thurs-Fri: 8AM-8PM
    Tue-Wed: 8AM-5PM
    Sat: 9AM-1PM

    Follow Us