Shoulder Injuries

Signs and Symptoms

The shoulder is a complex joint which is very flexible due to its anatomy.  It is a ‘Ball and Socket’ joint which relies very much on its stability from its surrounding muscles and ligaments. Injury to any of these structures can cause pain in and around the shoulder. Pain is often felt locally and especially lifting the arm in certain directions.


A dislocation occurs when the bones of a joint are forced out of their normal position and is a common injury in contact sports. Pain is severe and it is necessary to attend hospital to ‘re-locate’ the joint.  A period of rest and immobilisation follows until the injured structures have healed.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The muscles of the shoulder blade, including the rotator cuff muscles, play a very important role in the stability of the shoulder. Their proper function allows balanced movement of the shoulder.

The rotator cuff muscles can be injured through trauma or overuse, causing a muscle or tendon strain or tear. Often symptoms can include pain, weakness and reduced range of movement.

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, also known as Adhesive Capsulitis, is most common in women in 40-65year age group.  Movement of the shoulder is restricted and painful.

There are usually three stages:

  • Stage 1 – Painful and movement is limited
  • Stage 2 – Stiffness and movement is limited
  • Stage 3 – Stiffness reduces and movement improves

The shoulder joint and its surrounding capsule become inflamed and the resulting pain causes a marked reduction in the movement of the shoulder.  A frozen shoulder can develop if it had been immobilised for a time due to fracture, surgery, stroke or injury to the rotator cuff.

Our Treatment & Expertise

It is important to fully assess the shoulder joint to accurately diagnose the source of pain, and rule out any other condition that may cause shoulder pain such as problems in the neck. Assessment will determine the site and nature of the injured structure.  Acute injuries will follow the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) principles with early strength exercises provided as soon as pain allows.

Here at Bray Physiotherapy, we use a ‘hands-on’ approach which may include massage, manual therapy, electrotherapy, acupuncture to enhance the body’s healing abilities. Exercise is also a very important part of your rehabilitation, to regain full range of motion and muscle control of the shoulder. Specific exercises for range and strength will be incorporated into a home exercise programme to optimise function and prevent recurrence.