Diagnosing and Treating Shoulder Pain

“The shoulder has a wide & versatile range of motion. When something goes wrong with your shoulder, it hampers your ability to move freely & can cause a great deal of pain & discomfort” [1] This is the time to see a Pain Specialist…

Shoulder Pain is Down to Many Causes

Everyday living makes it easy for us to injure our shoulders.- Repetitive movements, playing sports, and manual labour, are all common culprits. Moreover, “certain diseases can bring about pain that travels to the shoulder. These include diseases of the cervical spine (neck), as well as liver, heart, or gallbladder disease” [1]. And if you are in the 60-plus age bracket, then issues with your shoulders are likely to be more common. – This is due to the fact that degeneration of the tissue around the shoulder region often takes hold.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

• rotator cuff tendinitis
• impingement syndrome
• torn cartilage
• torn rotator cuff
• swollen bursa sacs or tendons
• bone spurs
• arthritis
• pinched nerve in the shoulder or neck
• broken arm/shoulder bone
• frozen shoulder
• dislocated shoulder
• injury due to repetitive use or overuse
• spinal cord injury
• heart attack
• referred pain from another area of the body [1].

Getting a Correct Diagnosis From a Pain Specialist

Contact an experienced Pain Specialist if you: “experience fever, inability to move your shoulder, lasting bruising, heat and tenderness around the joint, or pain that persists beyond a few weeks of home treatment” [1].

The Pain Specialist will review your medical history, give you a thorough examination (this could include an MRI scan or X-ray); and ask you various questions relating to your pain. He/she will then ascertain the underlying cause, give you their diagnosis, and answer any questions or concerns that you may have. After this, your Pain Specialist will explain the best treatment options to you, and then devise a Holistic Personalised Treatment Plan.

Treatments For Shoulder Pain

There are a variety of different treatments, and these will be administered according to the severity and cause of your shoulder pain. For example, you may be prescribed strong anti-inflammatory drugs (corticosteroids). -These can either be taken orally, or injected into your shoulder. Or you may be a suitable candidate for Intra-articular hyaluronic acid injections (including Synvisc and Durolane); local trigger point injections; suprascapular nerve blocks: suprascapular nerve pulsed radiofrequency (PRF): or botulinum toxin A (botox) treatment. Specialist shoulder physical therapy is another option, and this may be used in conjunction with a different treatment.


[1]. Pietrangelo, A. (2019). “Why Does My Shoulder Hurt?” Healthline.