Shoulder pain is a condition that affects many individuals and it can have a big impact on ones ability to perform everyday tasks such work, sport and activities of daily living.

The shoulder is made up of 4 joints and 20 muscles and is the most mobile joint in the body. Shoulder pain usually presents following acute trauma or as a result cumulative use and irritation over time.

The majority of shoulder complaints will usually improve over days or weeks, with some continuing longer and therefore impacting greatly on ones health and wellbeing.

Seeking osteopathic treatment for shoulder pain from a Principle Four osteopath in Melbourne CBD is advised if you have acute or chronic shoulder pain to assist in pain relief and restoring your movement and function.


  • The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body
  • The shoulder joint is made up of 4 joints, these being the glenohumeral joint (ball and socket joint), acromioclavicular and sternnoclavicular joint (where the clavicle attaches to the sternum and the scapulothoracic joint (where the shoulder attaches to the trunk via muscle attachments).
  • The most common causes of shoulder pain include muscle strains, joint sprains, tendonitis and bursitis.
  • The vast majority of shoulder complaints will generally improve within days or a couple of weeks.
  • Non musculoskeletal causes of shoulder pain are extremely rare.

The True Cost Of Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can have a significant impact on ones health and wellbeing. Pain and an inability to move the shoulder will impact on ones ability to perform daily tasks such as getting dressed, preparing and eating food, sleeping, performing work tasks and undertaking leisure activities.

People with shoulder pain will feel frustrated because the pain and limitation of movement will impact on all aspects of life including daily activities, family life, work, recreation and social activities.

Every-body is different and people experience shoulder pain in different ways. Some people feel a sharp pain with movement, whilst others report an ache in the shoulder. Some can feel stiff in their shoulder and find it hard to move their arm, whereas others can move their arm and then experience a sharp catching pain that can last for seconds. The pain can last for a few days, it can come and go, or it can be there all the time.


The most common causes of shoulder pain:

  • Muscle strain: the rotator cuff (made up of 4 muscles), biceps, trapezius and levator scapule are the muscles that commonly cause shoulder pain. Muscle and tendon strains can present as pain with movement and sharp and aching pain in the shoulder.
  • Bursa: there are many bursa around the shoulder that can become inflamed which is known as bursitis. Acute bursitis can present as acute pain with movement and at rest.
  • Glenohumeral joint inflammation: inflammation of the glenohumeral joint, known as synovitis can present as an aching pain in the shoulder with movement and rest.
  • Referred pain: occasionally the neck can masquerade as shoulder pain.


If your shoulder pain persists longer than a few days or is worsening, seek out your osteopath for an assessment and diagnosis so that an appropriate treatment and management plan can be implemented.


It’s important to accurately diagnose the cause of your shoulder pain, identify any contributing factors, relieve muscle tension, maintain healthy structural alignment, restore functional movement and strengthen supporting muscles, even after the pain has subsided.


The vast majority of shoulder complaints are musculoskeletal in nature and will generally improve over time.


Book an osteopathy consultation with one of our industry leading osteos.

Note: Private health claiming is available onsite for all osteopathy consults. Please consult your private health fund provider to determine your osteopathy rebate for our initial and subsequent osteopathy consultations..


  • Step 1:  Booking your consult –  Once you have booked a consult with one of our osteopaths, you will be sent a confirmation email and a pre consult questionnaire.  We want to find out why you have booked to see us and what you would like to get out of your consultation
  • Step 2:  Assess, Diagnose ad provide symptom relief – Your initial osteopathic consultation will take about 60 minutes in duration and during this consultation we will listen and talk to you about your complaint and what your goals are.  We will then take you through a comprehensive assessment and then discuss with you our findings and recommended treatment and management plan.  Treatment and management may include manual therapy to provide symptom relief and then a discussion around pain management and symptoms modification strategies. If you require a referral elsewhere, we will discuss this with you and facilitate this.
  • Step 3:  Improve capacity and performance –  Once your symptoms are under control, our goal will be to assist you with building your functional capacity, ability to perform everyday activities without pain and performance.  Our osteopaths will work with you to provide you with strategies to do so.  This may include exercise and  work related assessments and training.

    Can Osteopath Help With Shoulder Pain

    Many people call us and ask, “does osteopathy help shoulder pain?” And the answer is yes. Our osteopaths may be able to help you with a combination of manual therapy and exercise advice.  For those who are experiencing acute shoulder pain, we will help with pain management and look to restore your normal pain free movements through a variety of manual therapy techniques and exercise prescription. 

    Common Shoulder Complaints

    The most common shoulder complaints seen by our osteopaths include:

    • Rotator cuff strains and tendinitis
    • Adhesive capsulitis aka frozen shoulder
    • Bursitis
    • Subacromial impingement syndrome
    • Biceps tendinitis
    • AC joint sprains
    • Shoulder dislocation
    • Shoulder hypermobility
    • Wear and tear, osteoarthritis of the shoulder joints i.e. AC joint, Glenohumeral joint

    Osteopath Treatment For Shoulder Pain

    Our osteopaths provide hands on manual therapy, rehab exercises and stretches and exercises for shoulder pain to encourage pain free movement, so that you can get back to doing what you love doing without any discomfort or concern. We give advice on how to reduce aggravation of your complaint  and use various hands-on treatments to relieve your shoulder pain.

    Osteopaths seek to assist in restoring your body’s natural function and structure by using a variety of hands-on treatments, as well as exercises, stretches and things you can use at home.

    Chronic Shoulder Pain Treatment

    Your osteopath assesses your level of pain and applies the most appropriate shoulder pain osteopathic treatment for the best result. We aim to reduce pain, improve movement, and calm your nervous system. As your mobility increases and the pain lessens, we use different techniques.

    Shoulder Pain From Awkward Sleeping Position

    If you’re waking with shoulder pain from sleeping, our osteopaths can provide advice on how to minimise the cause of shoulder pain whilst sleeping.

    Shoulder Pain And Referral For Medication, Imaging Or A Specialist

    Should the osteopath feel you will benefit from further pain management, imaging or opinion from a specialist, we will facilitate this for you through a referral to your GP, imaging centre or sports medical doctor.  In some situations, those with shoulder pain will require pain and anti inflammatory medication, xray, ultrasound or MRI and possibly other interventions such as injections or an orthopaedic review. 

    Book An Osteopathy Treatment For Shoulder Pain

    If you are suffering from shoulder pain book a treatment with one of our osteopaths at Principle Four Osteopathy on Collins St Melbourne CBD.  




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