Shoulder pain is a common complaint, especially as we get older. Due to the shoulder being pivotal in day to day tasks (dressing, showering, and exercising), injuries to this area can be debilitating and frustrating.

Shoulder injuries are also frustrating because they do not seem to get better with rest. This is because the shoulder is a highly unstable bony joint which relies heavily on its passive (ligaments/labrum) and active (muscular) structures for stability. Because of this, recovery is focused on getting stronger in the correct areas, usually the scapula muscles and/or rotator cuff. As we get older, however, we often develop tears in the muscles naturally, like we inevitably develop wrinkles.

It can be difficult, therefore, to determine if it is actually the tears or just the strength deficit being the limitation to your function.  This is why an assessment from a well-trained Physiotherapist is important in treating shoulder pain and injuries effectively.

What to expect in your assessment

Our Physiotherapists are up-to-date with evidence-based techniques and the current literature on shoulder assessment and therefore have the ability to screen for significant structural injuries. Your Physiotherapist will take you through functional movements that are limited by dysfunction or pain and then change the mechanics of your shoulder blade or humeral head to gauge what structures need to be treated in your rehabilitation. Your treatment and rehabilitation plan will focus on restoring function and movement to ensure the best chance of recovery initially and in the longer term.

Common shoulder injuries and conditions:

Physiotherapy can help with a range of shoulder injuries or conditions that can cause pain and dysfunction including:

  • Rotator Cuff disorders
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Shoulder bursitis and shoulder impingement
  • Arthritic shoulders
  • Chronic shoulder pain and stiffness


Treating shoulder injuries involves improving function and strength and this will be reflected in how we work to get you better.

Step 1: Reducing Your Pain

In the early stages when pain is an issue, your Physiotherapist may use a variety of techniques including massage, mobilisation, dry needling, taping and other modalities to help settle the pain.

Step 2: Targeted Rehabilitation

After your assessment, your Physiotherapist will develop a targeted rehabilitation plan based upon your results to improve the function of the shoulder.  This may start with very small and simple movements but will progress through to full gym programs to ensure your shoulder develops the strength, and therefore the resilience, to prevent any injury recurrence.  Our goal is to have your shoulder stronger and functioning better than before your injury so you can move with confidence.

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Book an appointment

Appointments are available in our two Canberra City locations. Call or book online.

Bookings can also be made with our physiotherapists in Deakin by calling ACT Pain Centre.

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