Shoulder

Shoulder pain is the second most common musculoskeletal problem following back pain. The majority of shoulder problems will improve with exercises, education and staying active – without the need of a scan or surgery. Our physiotherapists have the knowledge and tools you require to help you recover from your shoulder problems.  

Common causes of shoulder pain include injury, overuse, and osteoarthritis. These conditions can also cause stiffness, swelling and reduced flexibility in the shoulder joint. Once you have a diagnosis, your specialist will work with you to decide on the best course of treatment to improve your range of motion and reduce your joint pain. 

Mild cases will first be recommended lifestyle changes. There are also a variety of non-surgical treatments that can significantly improve your symptoms. If your condition is more advanced, or if you have an injury that needs to be fixed, you may be recommended for shoulder surgery. 

During your consultation, our specialist shoulder consultants  will discuss your concern and appropriate treatment with you. 

Ready to book now? Get in touch to discuss your needs and decide on the best course of treatment for you.

Ready to book now? Get in touch to discuss your needs and decide on the best course of treatment for you.

What does a shoulder surgeon do?

Orthopaedic surgeons that specialise in shoulder conditions are devoted to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders of the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. If non-surgical treatments have not worked for you, a shoulder surgeon may recommend a surgical alternative. 

Reasons to see a shoulder consultant

  • Frozen shoulder – a painful condition that reduces the normal movement in the shoulder joint 
  • Rotator cuff problems – this effects the how the group of muscles and tendons control the shoulder joint 
  • Osteoarthritis in the shoulder 
  • Shoulder instability – where the ball is moving unnaturally within the socket 
  • Referred pain – in some cases, shoulder pain is caused by a problem in another area, such as the neck. 

Common shoulder conditions

Shoulder impingement

Shoulder impingement is a common type of shoulder pain. A group of muscles called the ‘rotator cuff’ surround and support your shoulder. These help you to lift your arm up so you can reach for things above you. The tendons for these muscles lie in a narrow space between the top of your arm bone and the bone at the top of your shoulder blade.  

Shoulder impingement happens if lifting your arm puts too much pressure on the tendons. When the tendons press against the shoulder blade above them, this causes pain. You may also find it harder to move your arm. 

Frozen shoulder (Adhesive capsulitis)

A frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis and constitutes a stiff shoulder, which is often very painful. It describes the process where the capsule that surrounds the ball and socket joint become inflamed. The inflammation results in the ‘tightening’ of the capsule, causing a large restriction of movement and pain. Frozen shoulders are very common yet poorly understood. You may have developed a frozen shoulder gradually or following a sudden movement or fall. Certain medical conditions can increase your likelihood of developing a frozen shoulder such as diabetes and thyroid problems. 

Common shoulder treatments

Shoulder decompression surgery

Shoulder decompression is an operation on your shoulder to treat a condition called shoulder impingement, which causes pain when you lift your arm. The surgery involves removing inflammation around the muscles that move the shoulder and to remove spurs of bone (this is bony growth which has formed on normal bone).  

It’s usually carried out through keyhole surgery (arthroscopy).

Frozen shoulder surgery

Most people with frozen shoulder find their symptoms improve eventually with self-help and non-surgical treatments. But if these haven’t helped after a few months, your GP may refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon (a consultant who specialises in bones and joints).  

Your orthopaedic surgeon may recommend one of the following procedures. 

  • Shoulder manipulation under anaesthetic (MUA). While you’re under general anaesthesia, your surgeon forces your shoulder into movements which will stretch the tightened capsule and loosen up any scar tissues. You will be asleep during this procedure. 
  • Arthroscopic capsular release. Your surgeon uses keyhole surgery (shoulder arthroscopy) to look inside your shoulder joint, usually under general anaesthetic. They use surgical instruments to release tight parts of the capsule to loosen it. 

Shoulder arthroscopy is a type of keyhole surgery used to diagnose and treat problems inside your shoulder. It’s carried out through small cuts in your skin. Your surgeon uses a tiny camera to look inside your shoulder joint to diagnose problems and guide the repair of any damage.  

Your doctor may suggest a shoulder arthroscopy if you have damage from an injury, arthritis or certain other health conditions. 

Rotator cuff surgery

The rotator cuff is one of the most important parts of the shoulder. It’s formed from four muscles and tendons that attach your arm to the top of your shoulder blade. It allows you to lift your arm and reach up, as well as stabilising the shoulder joint for normal shoulder movements. Essentially, the rotator cuff keeps your shoulder in its socket.  

Damage to the rotator cuff can be caused by a number of factors. It can become injured after a fall or an accident, or from repetitive movements or overuse of the shoulder. This is especially common in sports that involve overhead actions, such as tennis, swimming and weight-lifting. Another cause is wear and tear. This is more likely to happen to older patients due to inflammation or damage to muscles and tendons in the shoulder over time. 

Available procedures

Looking to fast track your treatment?

Our consultants

Mr Duncan Avis
Mr Duncan Avis
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
MBChB, MSc, FRCS (Trauma & Orth)
Mr Sunil Garg
Mr Sunil Garg
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
FRCS (Tr & Orth), MCh Dip Orth (Tr & Orth), MRCS (Surgery in General)
Mr Emmet Griffiths
Mr Emmet Griffiths
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
MBBS, BSc, MSc, FRCS (Tr+Orth)
Mr Alistair Phillips
Mr Alistair Phillips
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
FRCS (Tr & Orth)
Mr Peter Tomlinson
Mr Peter Tomlinson
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
MBChB MRCS FRCS

Ways to pay

Paying for yourself

Healthshare provides access to the highest quality care giving you the opportunity to access the very best treatment, facilities and consultants. Healthcare the way you want it, when you need it.

Spread the cost

A fixed term loan, provided by our partners Chrysalis Finance, will allow you to spread the cost of treatment and allow you to pay in monthly instalments over a time period to suit you.

Medical insurance

If you have private medical insurance you can get referred to a Healthshare Clinic for the very best treatment. Contact your insurance provider to pre-authorise your treatment today.

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