Shoulder injuries is a mixture of damage to muscles, ligaments, joints or nerves around your shoulder. First we must establish the extent of the damage to the soft tissue, then we can start treating it.

Here’s some common shoulder injuries and how we treat them – from dislocated shoulders to muscle tears. These are the different types of structures in your shoulders and problems they might get. We’ve also included some do’s & don’ts on how to tend to your injury at home.

Most injuries don’t happen in isolation. In most cases, we find 2 to 3 structures at the root of a problem. It’s also common to find more than one injury. To illustrate an example: With a dislocated shoulder we typically find 3 sprained ligaments, 4 muscle injuries, as well as 2 tendon injuries.

When diagnosing patient problems, we determine the extent of the damage and focus our treatment on that. The general progression of problems stems from these underlying structures (generally in this order):

  1. Nerves
  2. Bones
  3. Joints
  4. Discs
  5. Ligaments
  6. Tendons
  7. Muscles
Shoulder pain

Shoulder pain is the feeling of discomfort in the area of your shoulder and upper arm.  You may feel constant pain or feel pain only when moving the shoulder. In this article, we look at the different types of structures in the shoulder, how injury/damage to them causes pain and our treatment of shoulder pain. We find that neck pain can also be present with patients suffering from shoulder pain.

Shoulder muscle injury
A shoulder muscle strain can also be called a shoulder muscle tear or a pulled muscle. This article outlines why your muscles ache, symptoms and possible related injuries, how we diagnose shoulder muscle injuries and what you can expect from a treatment session at Cilliers & Swart.

The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint and because of how freely it can move. It is also the least stable joint. Shoulder joint pain can originate from any of the structures inside and around your shoulder joint – muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments. Read this article to know more about how this type of injury occurs and the different phases of physiotherapy treatments.

Frozen Shoulder

It is a common to dislocate a shoulder joint in a fall – often felt and described as the ‘popping’ out of the shoulder joint. Up to 90% of shoulder joints dislocate to the front and can cause a bulge in the front part of the shoulder. This injury can repeated itself if not properly treated the first time. Read our article covering the types, symptoms and diagnosis of dislocated shoulder joints.

The Rotator Cuff muscles are the four most important muscles required for the shoulder joint to function. Not only do the Rotator Cuff muscles provide movement of the shoulder and arm but they also stabilize the whole shoulder joint. Pain when sleeping (laying on the shoulder) and movements happening over-head (e.g. combing your hair) are the first signs of an injury to one of these Rotator Cuff muscles.

Kinesiology Taping Upper arm

The most commonly known muscle of the body. Found in the front of the upper arm, originating from the shoulder and attaching just below the elbow joint. It often starts to ache once you lift an excessively heavy object. Playing an instrument for an extended amount of time (for example violin) can also strain your biceps muscle. Read this article to gain insight into why we shouldn’t take this muscle for granted.

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An impingement in your shoulder is basically when the tendons get “pinched” on their way from your shoulder blade to your upper arm. The resulting friction and strain on your rotator cuff causes a tendinitis. Rotator cuff symptoms or shoulder pain usually starts with one event and after that the pain gradually becomes more intense.

Shoulder muscle injury, Shoulder muscle tear, Shoulder muscle pain, Shoulder muscle treatment, Shoulder muscle ache

If lifting up your arm sideways causes you pain you could impinge the tendon of your rotator cuff. Supraspinatus tendon impingement causes pain with small movements, like changing gears in the car and getting dressed. Not to mention lifting and carrying groceries. You may even struggle to sleep on your shoulder.

Bicep muscle tear

A Bicep tendonitis symptoms affect your ability to bend or straighten your elbow. Lifting groceries, shifting gears and reaching behind your back can be immensely painful, not to mention any type of shoulder exercise.

Shoulder stiffness is normal after an injury, but a “Frozen shoulder” is an abnormal, excessive reaction by your immune system to repair tissue and overcorrects. this causes pain and limited movement that gets progressively worse as your shoulder “freezes”. There’s a lot to slow the process down and the faster it’s caught, the better it’s managed.

shoulder pain, Shoulder injuries, Shoulder injuries treatment, shoulder pain treatment, Rotator cuff tear

Have you ever felt a sharp pinching pain in your shoulder that makes your whole arm feel weak? Pain that spreads around the front and side of your shoulder and down your upper arm, making it hard for you to do the easiest things like putting on a jacket. Sleeping on your side is simply too sore. If you feel any of these, you could have shoulder impingement syndrome. Also known as subacromial impingement or rotator cuff impingement.

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Your glenoid is covered by an O-ring seal within which your upper arm can move. SLAP is a tear in this ‘seal’ between your shoulder blade and upper arm. A SLAP shoulder lesion causes poorly localized symptoms like clicking or grinding of the joint on movement, pain when lying on the injured side and loss of strength and endurance, especially with overhead and behind the back activities.

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Neck muscle strain, neck muscle pain, Neck muscle spasm, Stiff neck muscles, Neck muscle injury

There are countless different structures in your neck and shoulder that work in unison to provide full active and strong movement in both areas. An issue in the neck may predispose you to shoulder problems and vice versa. Muscles, nerves and tendons run across both sites that leads to pain spreading from the one to the other.

Nerve pain, Nerve Compression, Nerve Irritation, Nerve injury, Nerve pain treatment

Stress is a loaded topic. Most of us are familiar with the emotional effects of stress, but did you know that you can experience physical stress too? Whether it’s conscious or unconscious in situation you can or cannot control – your body reacts to your environment. Your shoulders are one of sites where nerves become agitated and your threshold of coping drops. Our stress seems to accumulate in our neck and shoulders, and here’s why.

Do you wake up in the morning with a stiff and painful shoulder that takes a while to “warm-up”? This means there is damage to the cartilage inside your joint. It progressively gets worse as more layers are affected and your pain starts to limit you so much that you can’t do the most basic things.

Jaco Swart Physiotherapist & Medical professional at Well Health Pro


“If you’re concerned, we diagnose your problem and treat it

Let us check it and determine the damage”

If you’re suffering from pain after trauma or even surgery, you are at the right place. We treat all kinds of injury and damage to tissues like muscle, joint, tendon, ligament and nerves. Sign up for treatment today.

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