Osteopath For Shoulder Pain: Get The Best Treatment!

Shoulder pain is one of the most often complaints we hear at our clinic. It has various causes, including muscle tears and arthritis. Though it’s often difficult to pinpoint what’s causing your exact discomfort. We’ve found when patients come for an appointment with shoulder pain, it’s due to a multitude of reasons.

This article will discuss how an osteopath can help relieve shoulder pain caused by these issues. We’ll also explain why these areas are often the root of the problem.

Common Symptoms of Shoulder Pain that Osteopathy can Help

The shoulder is a complicated joint that makes up the upper part of your arm and connects it to the rib cage. It’s made up of bones, cartilage, tendons, and muscles, all working together to allow you to move your arms. When any one of these things becomes inflamed or injured, it can cause pain in this area.

Some common symptoms that an osteopath can help with may include the following:

  • Numbness or tingling in your fingers when you reach for something
  • Soreness around the top of your arm that feels like a bruise inside
  • Sharp pain in the front and back of your shoulder blade that radiates down into your armpit
  • Pain between your shoulder blades that feels like it’s coming from your chest or back
  • Pain from lifting and carrying objects that are not relieved by resting
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Shoulder Pain Causes

Shoulder pain is a common condition with many different factors.

Some of the most common factors contributing to shoulder pain are the following:


Bursitis is a painful swelling of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac between your bones and tendons. Inflammation can occur when you have shoulder injuries or repetitive movements over time.

Rotator cuff injury

Rotator cuff injuries are common. They happen when there is a tear or damage to the tendons that connect your shoulder muscles to your arm bone. This can result in shoulder pain and stiffness.

Sprains/strains of soft tissues

Sprains and strains are common shoulder injuries. They happen when you stretch or tear your shoulder joint’s ligament, tendon or muscle. Sprains and strains can cause pain, swelling and bruising of the soft tissues around the joint.

Dislocated shoulder

The shoulder can be dislocated when a hard force is applied to the top of your arm. This often occurs during contact sports such as football and, rugby, basketball. Or other sports involving jumping and contact.

Frozen shoulder

A frozen shoulder is a painful condition that affects the shoulder joint. It can cause stiffness and pain, which usually gets worse as time goes on.


Osteoarthritis is a condition in which cartilage in your joints wears over time. Leading to pain & stiffness, making everyday activities such as dressing and eating difficult.

Polymyalgia rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica is a long-term condition that causes muscle pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders and back. It can also result in fatigue, headaches, fever and problems sleeping.

Rheumatoid arthritis

It is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis often starts in your hands and feet but can also affect other body parts, such as the shoulders.

Septic arthritis (infection in your shoulder joint)

Septic arthritis is an infection in your shoulder joint. Bacteria or a virus can cause it, but it’s often triggered by surgery or trauma to your arm or shoulder. If you have septic arthritis, you may experience pain and stiffness in your shoulder joint.

Types of Shoulder Pain

Several different conditions can cause shoulder pain. Acute shoulder pain is often a result of an injury or strain, while chronic shoulder pain may have begun with an injury and then continued over time. You should be aware of many other causes of shoulder pain if you’re experiencing it.

Common types of shoulder pain include:

Acute (sudden)

This type usually lasts for less than three months and results from an injury or sudden strain on the joint. It can occur as part of your body’s normal healing process after surgery or other medical procedures.

Subacute (recent)

This type lasts for three to six months, usually following an acute episode. Sometimes occurring without any previous symptoms. It can resolve on its own without treatment unless there are complications involved. Such as infection or arthritic degeneration within your joints. This may require treatment, such as medication or osteopathy depending on what symptoms they cause.

Chronic (long-term)

The main symptom here will be constant discomfort in one or many areas. Injury has developed over time due to a multitude of factors. Some can be physical activity or trauma. Others can be uncontrollable and influence your ability to recover. Like underlying illness & medical conditions.

How Osteopaths Diagnose Shoulder Pain

In the first instance, a thorough physical examination is performed by an osteopath. This may include tests to assess the range of movement in your shoulder, nerve strength, and posture assessment.

An osteopath may use a range of diagnostic tests to help figure out the cause of your pain, including:

  • X-rays – These can show any bony changes that could be causing your symptoms.
  • MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging) – This uses magnetic waves to produce images showing soft tissues like muscles, nerves, and bones within the body.
  • Ultrasound – This uses sound waves to produce an image of soft tissues, such as muscles and tendons.

How do Osteopaths assess shoulder pain?

  • Your osteopath will examine your posture and the muscles around your shoulder.
  • They will ask about any pain or discomfort in the neck, upper back, and arms.
  • They may also ask about other symptoms, such as headaches or neck pain.
  • Your osteopath will also ask you to lie on the table so they can examine your spine, chest, and hips.
  • They may also ask you to perform certain movements, such as raising your arm above your head.
  • They may even ask you to do this while lying on the table so they can assess how well your shoulder moves. This is known as a functional assessment.

Osteopathic Treatment for Shoulder Pain

If you are suffering from shoulder pain, osteopathic treatment may be able to help. Osteopaths work on the premise that physical problems link to disruption in structure.

By using their hands and gentle techniques, they can work to:

  • improve your range of motion
  • remove tension in the muscles
  • reduce inflammation.


Osteopaths treat shoulder injuries such as rotator cuff tears and frozen shoulder syndrome. Also, osteopathic care is ideal for people suffering from chronic aches or pains in their shoulders. This can be due to overuse or repetitive strain injuries.

An experienced osteopath can also recommend home exercises that will strengthen weak muscles. This helps you maintain posture throughout your day. Ensuring that even after treatment ends, you’ll continue feeling better than before!

When should you see an osteopath for shoulder pain?

You should see an osteopath if your shoulder pain is interfering with your daily life. Whether that’s because it’s affecting your sleep, you can’t carry things, or you have trouble getting dressed. If self-care methods aren’t improving the situation and it’s a sudden onset of pain consider seeing an osteopath. Especially if you have recently had a fall on the shoulder.

If the pain has been around for a while or worsening, then it may be worth considering what’s causing the problem. Consult with an osteopath who identifies why it’s happening. Then you can get the treatment that suits you best.

The severity of your shoulder pain will also determine when to see an osteopath. Suppose you’ve had sudden onset of severe shoulder pain after using heavy machinery at work. In that case, this may indicate further damage than usual. It can warrant further investigation by a medical professional such as an osteopath.

What can an Osteopath do to help Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain can be a debilitating condition. A visit to an osteopath for shoulder pain will help you understand the problem and how it can be treated.

Osteopaths have a special interest in the musculoskeletal system, including the bones, ligaments, joints, muscles, and nerves that make up this system. They can diagnose and treat shoulder pain in many ways.

A visit to an osteopath may involve one or more of these therapies:

  • Manual therapy
  • Exercise therapy/rehabilitation exercises
  • Dry Needling
  • Education

What can you do in-between visits to the osteopaths to alleviate shoulder pain and aid recovery?

While you can’t stay with your osteopath forever, there are certain things you may do to speed up the recovery process in-between visits.

  • Work on strengthening for muscle weakness.
  • Avoid any activities that may cause pain or make it worse.
  • Wear a brace if prescribed by your osteopath.
  • Apply ice for 15 minutes every few hours throughout the day to the painful area if prescribed.
  • Stay active, but don’t strain yourself. Ask your osteopath what activities are safe for you to do and when.

Shoulder Pain Relief

Shoulder pain can occur for many reasons, including an injury or repetitive motion. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, our osteopaths may be able to help.

In addition to treating the specific cause of your pain, we offer a number of treatments that also provide relief from other symptoms. Ones that improve mobility in your arm.

Here are some ways how you can relieve shoulder pain:

  • Get plenty of rest. Your body needs sleep to heal and recover.
  • Take warm baths or showers, which can help ease muscle stiffness and soreness.
  • Use heat or cold packs to soothe pain and inflammation. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes, then switch to heat for another 15 to 20 minutes. This can help reduce swelling, especially if your shoulder is injured or inflamed.
  • Use a foam roller to stretch tight muscles in your upper body. Roll over each muscle group slowly and gently until you feel it relax.
  • You can also try using a heating pad, which is safe for most people but should not be used directly on the skin.

How many osteopath visits are required for shoulder pain treatment?

The number of visits you’ll need depends on the severity of your pain and the treatment plan. Some osteopaths will use a combination of:

  • Manual techniques, such as joint manipulation or soft tissue therapy.
  • Exercises to help release tight muscles and improve range of motion.


The more severe or chronic your shoulder pain is, the more visits it’s likely to take for relief.

Shoulder Pain Prevention

“Good” posture and modifying repetitive movements are effective ways to prevent shoulder pain. Stay conscious of your posture when sitting, standing, and working. Change your posture throughout the day to reduce fatigue.

Also, try to change sleeping on the painful side, as it can aggravate a frozen shoulder or rotator cuff injury.

If you suffer from shoulder pain, getting treatment from a qualified practitioner is important.

A good osteopath can help with your understanding of posture and movement. As well as provide advice on how to prevent future pain.


Osteopaths are highly trained and skilled healthcare professionals with the knowledge and expertise to treat shoulder pain. They can also help you to prevent it in the future so that you don’t have to worry about suffering from this condition again.

Book an appointment today if you are suffering from shoulder pain and want to know more about how osteopathy could help you. Our experienced team of osteopaths in the North Shore area will be happy to answer any questions you have and explain how osteopathy could be an excellent solution for your shoulder pain.