My Shoulder Hurts – What Should I Do?

If you can’t stop thinking ‘My shoulder hurts’, you need to ask yourself 3 questions.

This article will help you to work out the answers:


The Questions

Can I self-monitor the pain for now, and follow up only if symptoms do not settle in a certain timeframe?


Do I need to see a Doctor?


Is my injury suitable for Physiotherapy?


My Shoulder Hurts :– The Why

A gradual onset of shoulder pain can be caused by a number of things. This can include

• Issues with the ‘rotator cuff’ tendons
• Irritation of a fluid sac called a bursa
• Weakness or tightness of the muscles

Mild pain may settle on it’s own.

If pain is slow to settle, Physiotherapy exercises can help speed up recovery.

If you have severe pain or if you are unable to use the arm normally, you may require an x-ray and/or Ultrasound investigation. This is to examine the bones, and assess tendons for tears.

Unless a tendon tear is diagnosed as ‘full thickness’, Physiotherapy management is often appropriate.


My Shoulder Hurts :– When To Self-Monitor

If a shoulder develops pain due to overload with a particular activity, and the duration has been less than a week, avoid the aggravating activity, and see if it settles. If pain persists, use the guidelines above.



My Shoulder Hurts :– When To See A Doctor

Travel to see a Medical Doctor if any of these factors are present:
• Unsatisfactory improvement following a 6-week rehabilitation program with a physio (i.e. continued impairment of daily activities or sport)
• Marked weakness with arm elevation past shoulder height, lasting more than 6 weeks
• Pain interrupting sleep for more than 2 weeks.


My Shoulder Hurts :– When To See A Physio

Seek Physiotherapy consultation online if there is:
• Shoulder pain lasting more than 1 week

Your Physiotherapist will assess your shoulder to work out what structure is involved. From there, they will develop a rehabilitation plan for you to follow.

If your Physiotherapist feels that you need further investigation or a doctor review, they will be sure to let you know.

Shoulder pain can be managed very effectively with online Physiotherapy consultation.

You can have your shoulder assessed, diagnosed and treated from the comfort of your home, at a time that suits you.

To get started with an online Physiotherapy consultation, click here.