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Shoulder Pain Treatment “I think I tore something in my shoulder,” is a common phrase from someone experiencing shoulder pain. Shoulder pain can happen to people of all ages from children to the elderly, and a rotator cuff injury or tear is one of the most frequent reasons. Pain from the shoulder can be very intense and cause a lot of limitations with many of our day-to-day activities.


  • Pain in and around the shoulder, especially with overhead movements
  • Swelling
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Weakness
  • Sensation of shoulder “popping” out.
  • Bony deformities


 Injury in the shoulder
Unlike other joints, our shoulder joint is held together by mostly soft tissues (ligaments, muscles, tendons etc) rather than bones interlocking. This makes the shoulder one of the most mobile joints in our body but it comes at the cost of stability and a greater risk of injury. Dysfunction in the soft tissue structures like the rotator cuff can result in injury and produce shoulder pain.


  1. Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

    • The Rotator Cuff is made up of 4 different muscles, which work together to stabilize the shoulder.
    • The rotator cuff tendons can get inflamed due to over-load or repetitive activities with the shoulder.
  2. Rotator Cuff Tears

    • The 4 rotator cuff tendons can tear with overuse, heavy lifting, and trauma like a fall.
  3. Frozen Shoulder

    • Results in a severe loss of movement and function in the shoulder caused by inflammation of the joint capsule.
    • Recovery is slow and can take months to years to recover.
  4. Bursitis

    • Bursa are protective cushions that protect from high level of friction between the tissues.
    • Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa causing shoulder pain and commonly develops because of repeated pressure and overuse in the shoulder.
  5. Labral Tears

    • Tears of the labrum usually happen with trauma to the shoulder causing pain and instability.
    • Severe tears of the labrum that limit movement and function may require surgery.
  6. Dislocations

    • A shoulder dislocation is when the ball of the joint has come out of the socket it normally sits in, commonly due to trauma or a fall onto an outstretched arm.
  7. Fractures

    • Fractures of the shoulder can happen with trauma, such as falls or motor vehicle accidents
    • The most fractured bones of the shoulder are the humerus (long bone of the upper arm) and the clavicle (collar bone).
  8. Post-surgical shoulder

    • Shoulder surgeries include tendon repair in complete tears of the rotator cuff tendons, labral tear repairs and shoulder replacements.
    • Physiotherapy is required after the surgery to regain movement, strength, and function.


Physiotherapy Clinic
Physiotherapy treatment can help you manage shoulder pain. A Registered Physiotherapist at PhysioNow will do a thorough assessment of your shoulder to understand the nature of your pain or injury.

The physiotherapist will use the information from the assessment to develop a treatment plan that will address the source, signs and symptoms of your shoulder pain. The specific treatment will depend on the nature of your shoulder pain.

Shoulder pain physiotherapy treatment may include education on the injury and timelines for recovery, as well as how to self-manage the condition. At our physiotherapy clinics across the GTA, our physiotherapists use modalities like ultrasound, laser, electrotherapy, and acupuncture to relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation and promote tissue healing. Our physiotherapists will perform hands on mobilizations for your shoulder to relieve tightness, reduce pain, and improve mobility in the shoulder. Finally, our physiotherapists will give you individualized exercise programs to restore the strength, flexibility, and function of your shoulder.

Don’t let your shoulder pain or rotator cuff tear affect your quality of life! We have 7 locations across the communities of Mississauga, Etobicoke and Oakville and our physiotherapists can help you manage your pain. Contact PhysioNow to book your appointment and get started today!

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Who is most affected by severe shoulder pains?

Anybody can be affected by shoulder pains. Common causes are injuries to the rotator cuff muscles. Injuries can happen due to trauma or from wear and tear over time.

How are shoulder injuries treated?

We treat shoulder injuries with modalities such as ultrasound and electrotherapy. These are very comfortable treatments to receive. We also do hands on mobilizations for your shoulder to release the tightness. Lastly, we give you very specific exercises that can speed up your recovery.

Will I need surgery for my shoulder pains?

Most people will not need surgery for shoulder pain. Conservative care, such as Physiotherapy is the treatment of choice. The only time that surgery is considered is if you are a major league pitcher or if there is a full tear to one of your shoulder muscles and Physiotherapy has ‘failed’.

What are some warning signs or symptoms of shoulder pain?

Warning signs include: you are having trouble reaching overhead, reaching behind your back or putting your arm into your coat.

What risks are involved with a torn rotator cuff?

Most people can recover well even if they have a full tear to the rotator cuff. We have other muscles that can help even if one is not doing its job. Physiotherapy is very effective in helping you to recover from a full tear. It is often less painful than if you have a partial tear or tendonitis.

What causes shoulder pain to be worse at night?

There are a few reasons why shoulder pain is worse at night. Firstly, during the day you are moving around and doing your day to day tasks. This keeps the shoulder a little more mobile and pain is not as noticeable. However at night, you are not moving around as much and this causes the shoulder to stiffen up more. Secondly, at the end of the day, it is likely that there are less distractions than during the day which makes you more aware of the pain.

I have a popping noise when I rotate my arm. Is their something wrong with my shoulder?

Some noise from joints like popping or clickins is perfectly normal. If those noises are associated with pain or other symptoms then there may be a mechanical reason why it’s occuring. If there is discomfort then it would be a good idea to see a physiotherapist so that they can assess the shoulder and provide any treatment if there is a problem with the shoulder.

Does sleeping on your side cause shoulder pain?

Not necessarliy! However, if there is a history of shoulder pain or a recent injury to the shoulder, then it may be painful to sleep on that particular side.

Does lifting heavy at the gym cause long term damage to a shoulder?

It depends! Lifting heavy doesn’t automatically mean there is going to be damage to the shoulder. There are safe ways to continue with lifting as long as there is proper posture and technique during the lift. Also, it is important to work up to heavier weights over extended periods of time so that there is enough strength in the shoulder to tolerate the lift. However, like any joint, if there is excessive use and repetitive motions over time, this may negatively affect the shoulder down the line. Therefore, it is important to do a variety of strengthening activities and be aware of any developing limitations so that injuries can be prevented.

Does stretching everyday prevent shoulder pain?

Stretching on a regular daily basis will definitely help prevent injury to the shoulder. A physiotherapist can help prescribe the most appropriate shoulder exercises that you can do at home to help maintain good shoulder movement and function.


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