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Shoulder pain

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How does the shoulder work?

Your main shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint, which allows a very wide range of movement. There’s also a smaller joint where the top of your shoulder blade meets your collarbone.

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What causes shoulder pain?

Most shoulder problems will only affect a small area and are fairly short-lived. Pain can be caused by problems with the muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. Sometimes shoulder pain is related to a problem in the neck or arthritis.

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Should I see a doctor about my shoulder pain?

You should see a doctor if:

  • your pain isn’t improving after about two weeks
  • you have a definite injury
  • you have severe pain or stiffness in both shoulders
  • you also feel feverish or generally unwell.
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What can I do to help myself when I have shoulder pain?

Try the following self-help tips:

  • Take painkillers.
  • Apply an ice pack.
  • Balance rest and exercise.
  • Check your posture.
  • Think about whether your daily activities might be contributing to your shoulder problem and what you can do to reduce the strain.
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How are specific shoulder conditions diagnosed?

A diagnosis of a specific shoulder conditions is usually based on your symptoms and an examination, but you may sometimes need:
  • blood tests
  • x-rays, ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
  • nerve conduction tests.
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Exercises to manage shoulder pain

Exercises to stretch, strengthen and stabilise the structures that support your shoulders. Read more >


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