Physiotherapy Portal

How to fix your own shoulder pain

Posted by Stuart Fossella on Wednesday, March 01, 2017

8 Quick Tips to decide if your problem is your Neck or your Shoulder

 Boy Lifting Arm

Ok here’s one to help you out if you are suffering from ‘Shoulder Pain’.

We see this all of the time and it’s no fault of the patients when they come to us complaining of ‘Shoulder Pain’. They will point to the area between the base of the neck and the actual Shoulder joint - Check out the picture on our homepage (lady in blue vest) if you can't picture where I am talking about.

Now it would be easy for the non-therapist to think and feel that this problem was related to the shoulder, why wouldn't you?

The thing is…this ‘Shoulder Pain’ is more than likely actually originating from the NECK!

You see the region the hand has been placed on is so near to the junction of the neck it's untrue. Sitting right in this area are the muscles of the back of the neck and the joints of the spine themselves. The picture on the homepage actually shows the ladies hand covering the joints of the neck.

So how can you tell if it's your Neck or your shoulder that's the actual cause of your troubles?

8 Quick ways to decide of your problem is coming from your neck or your shoulder:

Check out this list to help you decide what is what.

1) Do you feel your pain when you move your head either: up, down or when looking over the shoulder?

  • If the answer is yes the problem is probably coming from your Neck.

2) Do you feel your pain if you shrug your shoulders to the ceiling?

  • If the answer is yes the problem is probably coming from your Neck.

3) Do you feel the pain in that region when you are trying to sleep?

  • If the answer is yes the problem is probably coming from your Neck.

4) Would you consider yourself to have a generally stiff neck at the moment?

  • If the answer is yes the problem is probably coming from your Neck.

And now for some quick questions that might help to decide if your problem actually originates from the Shoulder:

5) Do you have pain in the region when you lift your arm overhead, as in getting dressed or reaching?

  • If the answer is yes the problem is probably coming from your Shoulder.

6) Do you have pain in the Shoulder in lying on that side at night?

  • If the answer is yes the problem is probably coming from your Shoulder.

7) Do you have difficulty in carrying bags down at your side?

  • If the answer is yes the problem is probably coming from your Shoulder.

8) Is your Shoulder stiff when reaching overhead or in tucking your clothes in around the back?

  • If the answer is yes the problem is probably coming from your Shoulder.

So there it is, your quick guide to deciding if your trouble comes from the Neck or the Shoulder.

Sounds quite simple, and as a quick screening tool the above can be quite helpful. Of course, its not a given, and to complicate things, you could have a combined Neck and Shoulder problem, or the Neck could be causing the shoulder problem!

But that's why we are here, so Bring us your problems :-)

You know where we are - and we’d love to help you out if we can.

If a colleague, partner or friend may find this piece useful, we’d love it if you passed it on to them to read.

The Team at Straight Back

Common Sporting Shoulder Injuries

Posted by Stuart Fossella on Thursday, August 04, 2016

Shoulder Injury and Sport-The Old Classic.

 Cricket bowling

Common Rugby and Cricket related Shoulder Sports Injury - Rotator Cuff Strain.

Its a classic and I’ve said it before that its human nature to put things off. I use the analogy of not fixing the squeaky pedals on my bike until it reaches critical importance - i.e. they are about to fall off and I won't be able to get to work anymore.

Its exactly the same with the SPORTS INJURIES that we treat.

Its only when they become a limiting factor that people will do much about them. People can put up with pain and discomfort but when injury gets in the way of sport or regular day to day activity then people take action and become patients!

A few weeks ago I was reminded of such a scenario and it made me think about what might have been done if we had seen them sooner.

So…Classic SPORTS Injury and SHOULDER Pain -

The story goes a little something like this…Super sporty guy playing rugby, hockey and cricket. Back at the beginning of the year he suffers a shoulder injury while playing rugby. Nothing too serious, painful catching of the arm that caused a wrenching and SHOULDER Pain.

A bit or rest and all seems fine but on attempting to play Sport the same problem persists.

But this continues for months, same old scenario rest fine, playing = pain. Nothing too serious but clearly not clearing up anytime soon.

The Shoulder is Still painful, especially now that its cricket season. Its apparent that there is a SHOULDER INJURY, and throwing causes pain at the point of the Shoulder.

An injury rested for much longer than 6 weeks that is not getting any better is UNLIKELY to do so on it own!

This is exactly the type of SPORTS INJURY that we can be helping with at Straight Back Physio.

When we reviewed this chap there was a definite restriction in his movement and a definite weakness in his damaged Shoulder. All signs point to this being a problem with his ROTATOR CUFF -

The Rotator Cuff is a group of 4 small muscles that sit around the Shoulder Joint helping to keep the ball and socket held centrally together. When the Rotator Cuff muscles work well then there is great control of the Shoulder Joint and generally not much pain.

When there is either damage or weakness of the Rotator Cuff then we might begin to notice problems, especially in throwing and contact as per Cricket and Rugby.

These are Shoulder problems that can be fixed through rehabilitation exercise, but only when the problem has been diagnosed in the first instance.

Exercise to relieve stiffness and improve Strength and control of the shoulder joint are just some of the ways in which we fix ‘Cuff Injury’. and this can be fixed with Physio in weeks rather than months!

Injury doesn't have to linger on, and shouldn't linger on. When symptoms of pain and stiffness don't disappear in weeks rather than months its probably time to get it checked out!

If self help and stretching doesn't help enough then…Get Some Hands on Physio treatment

There probably isn’t a faster way to ease shoulder pain than by going to see a Physio…

At Straight Back Physio will be able to diagnose, soothe and relax tight aching muscles, as well as give you personalised exercises programme that will help strengthen your muscles and make sure your posture is perfectly aligned.

If you’d like more quick tips like this to help ease shoulder pain, visit our website where you can download my free tips guide instantly:

Or click here: ->


Give us a Reply if you need any advice in the meantime.


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Shoulder Tendonitis

Posted by Stuart Fossella on Thursday, November 22, 2012

shoulder anatomy showing tendons that can become inflamed causing tendonitis

Shoulder Tendonitis

Tendonitis in the shoulder tends to affect the group of muscles known as the 'rotator cuff'. This is the term for the group of four muscles that lie close to the ball and socket of the shoulder. These act to stabilise the joint.

If someone performs repetitive actions or the tendons are subject to too much strain or force they may become damaged. Injuries are often seen in throwing athletes, swimmers and those playing raquet sports or painters decorators.

If the tendons become damaged, inflamed or worn they are termed to have tendonitis and can cause pain and weakness. Generally this will occur over time.

Have a look at the following link for a 3D image and information about the rotator cuff Healthline

Clinical Signs

  • Patients often complain of catching in the shoulder, usually with overhead activities or in side lying or in dressing.
  • Pain may also be felt further down the outside of the arm towards the elbow.
  • The shoulder may also become stiff after activity.


  • Treatment will involve activity modification to avoid the aggravating actions.
  • Cryotherapy (hot or cold) often eases pain.
  • Taping to encourage correct posture is helpful and eases pain.
  • Exercise to strengthen the weakened shoulder muscles.
  • Mobilisation techniques of stiffened joints is useful. As is a graded return to sport.

Frozen Shoulder

Posted by Stuart Fossella on Thursday, November 22, 2012

image of the shoulder joint demonstrating joint capsule thickening as per adhesive capsulitis

Frozen Shoulder

Adhesive capsulitis, also known as Frozen shoulder is a condition characterised by a pain and a loss of movement at the ball and socket joint of the shoulder.

The causes of a Frozen shoulder are not fully understood, but the condition leads to scarring and tightening of the capsule that surrounds the joint. It is this that causes restricted movement, hence the term ‘frozen’. The condition can develop secondary to a previous shoulder injury, especially if the initial injury has not been managed well.

Have a look at the following link for a 3D image of the shoulder joint Healthline

Clinical Signs

  • Adhesive capsulitis is considered more prevalent in women, individuals 40-65 years old, and in the diabetic population.
  • Characterised by pain, stiffness and a loss of shoulder movement.
  • The condition tends to follow the pattern of 1) a freezing & painful stage. 2) a frozen & stiff phase, and a 3rd) thawing phase which sees a return of shoulder movement.
  • Unfortunately for sufferers, this entire process can take as long as two years to run its course.


  • Techniques that we commonly use include soft tissue release and manipulation.
  • Acupuncture works extremely well at reducing pain.
  • Mobilising hands on techniques of the shoulder help to ease pain and improve movement
  • A home exercise programme of targeted stretches are vital to maintain and improve shoulder movement and day to day function.

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