Shoulder pain treatment: A guide to how can physiotherapy provide immediate relief.

Symptoms, causes, and relief for shoulder pain

What is Shoulder Pain?

“My shoulder feels sore/stiff/frozen/numb!”

Not all of them are “painful”, but they too fall under the category. If you’ve experienced these, then you’re amongst the 26% of adults who will undergo this at one point or another.

Our shoulders allow us to move in a wide range of motions, from scratching our back to throwing a ball and performing complicated stretches. So, when something goes wrong in it, we feel not only discomfort but also inconvenience.

The signs of shoulder pain are:

  • Inability to move as freely
  • Stiffness or numbness in the muscles
  • Warmth and redness in your shoulder
  • Pain that radiates to your arm, neck, and back

How does physiotherapy provide treatment for shoulder pain?

Through non-surgical treatments such as massage therapy, manual therapy, and dry needling, along with many different treatments we have, we at Core Concepts are staffed by physiotherapists who are experts in human anatomy. If your condition is caused by an issue that stems from the muscles, joints, bones, tendons, or ligaments, we can lend a helping hand in providing treatment and tackling the root cause.

If there is a need, we can refer you to a specialist and are happy to work with them to treat your condition better.

Common causes for shoulder pain that we treat

From health conditions to injuries and trauma, there are several reasons why you may feel pain and discomfort in your shoulder. Continue reading to learn about the conditions we treat for shoulder pain and know more about them!

Instead of self-diagnosing, we highly recommend that you meet with a medical practitioner or one of our physiotherapists to identify the cause of your pain and discomfort. This is to ensure that you get appropriate treatment in your best interest.

Injury in your rotator cuff is common, and the chances increase as you age. If you are in an occupation that requires frequent usage of your shoulder, then you are more prone to experiencing this injury too.

Symptoms of a torn rotator cuff

  • Have difficulty reaching back
  • Feel a deep dull ache in your shoulder
  • Your arm feels weak

More commonly known as frozen shoulder, this is a condition that’s slow to develop and heal. At first, you may not notice anything wrong, but the symptoms will worsen as time pass. This is usually caused by having to keep your shoulder still for long hours and may also be brought on by a broken arm.

This condition develops in stages, which are:

Freezing stage

  • Moving your shoulder will cause pain, and you will have a limited range of movement.

Frozen stage

  • There will be a reduction in pain, but movement will become more difficult.

Thawing stage

  • Your shoulder will begin to improve in mobility, as well as a gradual reduction in pain.

Symptoms of a frozen shoulder:

  • Pain in your shoulder that worsens at night
  • Persistent shoulder pain and stiffness
  • Inability to move your arm and shoulder

Shoulder impingement is a common cause of discomfort amongst sufferers of shoulder pain. When you lift your arm, there’s the possibility that your tendon will rub against other tissue or catch on your bone. This is a condition that affects the rotator cuff tendon, and can resolve itself in a matter of weeks, but can be a persistent issue as it heals.

Symptoms of shoulder impingement

  • Pain that worsens as you lift your arm, especially above the head
  • Pain that worsens at night
  • Pain in the top and outer side of the shoulder

Also known as tendonitis, it is an inflammation of your rotator cuff or biceps tendon. This condition can worsen if not treated early, and in severe cases, surgery may be needed.

Symptoms of tendon inflammation

  • You can’t hold your arm in certain positions
  • Your shoulder feels pain or tender
  • Loss of strength or movement in that arm

This joint can be found in your shoulder where two bones meet, with one being the collarbone, and the other being the shoulder blade. Your coracoclavicular (CC) ligaments, may also be affected, as this is what holds your AC joint in place. AC Joint dysfunction is commonly caused by arthritis and fractures, as well as wear and tear due to frequent use.

This condition can also be divided into 3 types depending on severity:

Type 1

  • Your AC joint is slightly torn, and your CC is unharmed

Type 2

  • Your AC joint is completely torn, but your CC is either untouched or only slightly torn.

Type 3

  • Your AC and CC are completely torn, leading to your collarbone being detached from the end of your shoulder blade.

Symptoms of AC Joint dysfunction

  • Limited mobility of shoulder and arm
  • Bruising and swelling
  • Your top of the shoulder feels sore

Our 4 steps treatment process for immediate shoulder pain relief!

We do not simply treat your symptoms and send you out of the door, but when you first come to us, we make sure that you’ll leave in significantly lesser discomfort and/or pain. Apart from tackling the root cause(s) of your condition, we aim to have you going beyond what you think you’re capable of after recovery.

And we do all that, in 4 simple steps!

As you come for your first session, our physiotherapist will get to know your condition, and symptoms, as well as answer your questions and clear up your concerns. You will also be assessed in detail to determine the cause of your pain.

To begin, you will be provided with immediate pain relief through our manual therapy or massage therapy. This is done to ensure that you leave in significantly less pain and to provide some much-needed comfort.

Then as you continue coming back to us, we will begin a plan to provide you with long-term pain relief. You will be asked about your goals and plans for treatments, during the first session, and as your physiotherapist draws up a personalized treatment plan.

If you miss the days before you have to live with your shoulder in pain and discomfort, we have good news! We will not simply treat your symptoms but rigorously work to find out the root cause of your pain and have it dealt with. This is to ensure that you are pain-free as soon as possible!

Now that you’re pain-free doesn’t mean that the journey has ended! We, at Core Concepts, go further beyond that. We aim to have you be better than before, for example, if you’re able to stretch your arm only to a certain degree without being sore, we can help you go further than that.

Our available treatments for shoulder pain

Facilitated Stretch Therapy (FST)

FST improves your flexibility and ability to stretch. Even if you’re not aiming to be a gymnast, having greater flexibility is ideal for you! It protects your joints from damage caused by falling or accidental overexertion and saves you a world of pain. As you age, degenerative conditions can affect your muscles and tendons, and with FST, you can keep them away!

Workplace health

This isn’t a treatment per se, but a prevention program by us at Core Concept. Workplace Health consists of us evaluating your office on improvements that can be made for better ergonomics and giving talks on improving health and safety while working. With laptops, phones, and desktops being an inseparable part of our workforce, it isn’t a surprise why shoulder pains are on the rise.

Pilates exercises

Balancing your body is important to prevent injuries. Pilates exercise is a series of steps that are done throughout this treatment, monitored by your physiotherapist, with each being centered on a different goal.

How to prevent shoulder pain?

Rest adequately after strenuous activities

This can reduce the chance of your developing an injury or condition that leads to shoulder pain. There is no shame in taking a day or two off if it is for your own benefit. Allow your body to heal and recharge!

Have proper posture

We can’t stress this enough! A poor posture can lead to the development of not only shoulder pain but also problems in your neck and back. Take a break after a maximum of an hour of sitting and stretch yourself or walk around. Be mindful of your posture as you sit and correct yourself as soon as you catch yourself slouching.

Strengthen your shoulders

This will prevent injuries and improve flexibility, allowing you to move in a wider range of motions. You don’t even need a gym subscription for this, as the internet provides a wide variety of guides on how to do so.

Don’t lift anything above your head

This places your shoulder in a closed-off position, leaving it more prone to injury. The same goes for heavy objects, if you can’t lift them, it is best to ask for help rather than potentially hurting yourself in the process.

Risk factors for shoulder pain

Prevention is better than cure! And that goes for all conditions, including shoulder pain. So, why do some get shoulder pain more frequently than others? Why are some free from this condition in their entire lives?

Frequent use of shoulder

Athletes and those working in occupations that need frequent use of the shoulder and its surrounding parts are more prone to shoulder pain. This is because there is a greater chance of them overusing it and leading to injuries.

Had previously injured their shoulder

In cases of previous shoulder injury such as dislocation, fracture, or tearing are at higher risk of developing shoulder pain.

Poor posture

This factor can also be seen in our sections on back and neck pain, therefore it shows how big of an impact it has. Ergonomic furniture is the way to go if you have no choice but to sit for long hours either for work or studies.


Have an injury? Ordered to rest by your doctor or physiotherapist? Is your body screaming at you to take a break? Then it is best to either slow down or stop the physical activity you are engaging in before you worsen or develop an injury.


Tendons and cartilage can degenerate over time, therefore those over the age of 50, they are at a higher risk of developing this condition.

Are you or your loved one going through shoulder pain? Book an appointment with us to get immediate relief!


Core ConceptsExcellentCore Concepts4.9 Based on 2341 reviews fromSee all reviewsYong Lai NgYong Lai Ng ★★★★★ The folks at Core Concepts have been a fantastic team which helped me in a speedy recovery from a shoulder injury. Special shouts out to Ken, Elliot, Noah and Mad. They have been very meticulous in developing the physio plan from exercises to massage releases. It has been a fun and rewarding journey with Core Concepts!Christian Indra KusumaChristian Indra Kusuma ★★★★★ Good physiotherapy! Helped me with my shoulder painResponse from the ownerHappy to hear that we were able to help relieve and fix your shoulder pain, Christian! Asha JethwaAsha Jethwa ★★★★★ I visited them for my frozen shoulder and after analysis and preliminary work, the therapy lasted almost a year to now get my full functionality back. Kelvin is a gem, very patient and constantly encouraging to keep pushing. Shane is the expert at diagnosis and directing the therapy. Thanks guys for your support.Atticus childAtticus child ★★★★★ I injured my rotator cuff during Dodgeball and I could barely raise up my arm. Grace, my physiotherapist was able to quickly identify the problem and told me I was able to recover by my desired timeline! Valerie was incredibly helpful during the recovery process by giving me effective exercises, answering all my queries and teaching me the right movement in throwing. Thank you so much for the wonderful experience 🙂JOLEENA ChiaJOLEENA Chia ★★★★★ It has been a pleasant experience with Core Concept. My physiotherapist is Grace and she has been very patient and helpful with my area of pain and frozen shoulder. Every visit helps in relieving my tight muscle. Will recommend if someone has similar pain as me.Annie ChiaAnnie Chia ★★★★★ Went to Core Concept in Aug 23 again as my frozen shoulder was hurting too much. My 1st encounter with Core Concept was 15 yrs ago when i had slip disc. Decided to go back there as i know they do use medirub to relieve pain first before prescribing the exercises. I had Grace as my PT from Tampines branch this time. She is professional and personal. I like the fact that she is very attuned to my needs and sensitive to the level of pain tolerance i have and work with me accordingly to manage my frozen shoulder. And the side chats helped to make the sessions a more pleasant experience. Not forgetting the friendly receptionist Joanna who congratulated me on the day of my discharge:) Thank you very much for celebrating my progress n walking this 'painful' journey with me!Sonia SohiSonia Sohi ★★★★★ I saw a Physio Sam and a sports trainer Val for shoulder and lower back muscle injuries. They were super helpful and explained the issue and how to get better really well and tailored it to my level and knowledge. Highly recommend them for any sports injuries!Kelly LeeKelly Lee ★★★★★ The sports massage session with Daisy Ree is really good and it did help to release the tension around my rotator cuff injury area. Really appreciate it 👍🏻Response from the ownerGreat to hear that you felt immediate relief after your sports massage session with Daisy! Thank you for the 5 star review, Kelly! Jason ChangJason Chang ★★★★★ Has Great experience with 2 of the physiotherapist , Mr kelvin Chung & Charles Wong , has been here fourth times , they give very detailed and care instructions on improving nerve on my neck , shoulder & arm numbness & pain . Since then until now it has improved greatly and pain has reduced too , allowing me to drive and sleep properly again . Thank you both for the great physiotherapy performed by both of you Thanks again !Not forgetting the very friendly receptionist too !After few months from overseas , my shoulder pain comes back again , giving me trouble sleeping in the nite , whole nite no sleep at all .This time I went back see kelvin again , & he very concern on my case had good advise from him too on my case . He recommended Natasha, a very professional caring physiotherapist, she would give good advises on my case , and after each session by her , I feel all relax and good . Thanks Natasha . Well done & good job by kelvin & Natasha .Response from the ownerSo happy to hear about your tremendous improvement after 4 sessions with us! Glad to hear that you are able to get back to your daily activities pain free and that our team was able to help. Thank you for leaving us such a lovely review, Jason! Kum Fai ChewKum Fai Chew ★★★★★ Pui Wan is very meticulous and gave me good treatment for my stiff shoulders.Xyla ChanXyla Chan ★★★★★ This is my first time in this centre. Previously went to Novena branch. My therapist Elliot gave me the treatment of western acupuncture to my neck and shoulder pain. He’s very experienced and explained to me clearly of the treatment and managed it very well. Thank you.Andrew KeongAndrew Keong ★★★★★ Went to see Shane for shoulder pain while doing overhead presses. He was attentive, diagnosed my shoulder instability quickly and prescribed exercises that effectively set me on the road to recovery.Jeremy PangJeremy Pang ★★★★★ Samuel is my saviour, managed to slowly unlock my frozen shoulder for the past 35 years and Kevin/valerie ‘torture’ me back to fitness with excellent functional Enjoyed my sessions and humour! Joe is wonderful taking care of my schedule and constantly remind me not to escape. Can’t better better therapist than that keeping me at the same timeCheryl LimCheryl Lim ★★★★★ I visited Core Concepts to get a shoulder pain diagnosed. On my first visit, Kelvin went through the necessary tests to determine what the issue could be. Thankfully it wasn’t anything too serious that requires further Xrays or scans, and he started the treatment with a massage to release tensions in the muscles.He then suggested that subsequent follow-up sessions would be conducted with the exercise therapist, Valerie. On a weekly basis she would teach and demo various exercises that strengthens the shoulder muscles and have me do them at home. During the sessions, Valerie would also check-in on the condition and we would work on the areas where I felt there were issues.The sessions and simple exercises have improve the shoulder injury tremendously.I would definitely recommend Core Concepts to anyone who needs to have their pain issues looked at. The therapists and staff are all friendly and attentive to clients’ needs.Desmond WooDesmond Woo ★★★★★ Did a couple of physiotherapy massage sessions with Natasha and it has helped me immensely. As someone who is plays tennis alot, having a tight shoulder was always a problem. Natasha knows exactly which muscles to target to get to the root of the issue, and each time after the sessions I feel so much better. She also suggests ways for you to target and release those muscle groups yourself at home, so you are able to progress in your recovery outside of these sessions. To top it off she is one of the friendliest physiotherapists I’ve met too! Highly recommended for anyone looking for a physio.Geraldine YeoGeraldine Yeo ★★★★★ The team at Core Concept’s Parkway is very professional, warm and caring! Many thanks to Kajal, Serita, Blessie, Charles, Jo and Sherrellyn. After one session with Massage Therapist, Sherrellyn, the pain in my neck and shoulders was significantly reduced. Sherrellyn is very knowledgeable and professional and her therapy sessions are highly effective. Thank you, Sherrellyn!Kiok Seng TeoKiok Seng Teo ★★★★★ Feedback on Kelvin Chung- he is friendly and approachable. Explained things to me clearly and helped me understand how the exercises helped with my shoulders tendinitis. My shoulder is already 90% recovered:).Shaun LeeShaun Lee ★★★★★ Thank you Samuel for releasing all the pain and tightness from my neck, back and shoulder. Very helpful exercises too! Thank you.Joshua ChooJoshua Choo ★★★★★ Shane managed to quickly diagnose the issues causing my hip and shoulder pains and suggested exercises that ultimately resolved themDerrick PangDerrick Pang ★★★★★ Chye Tuan has been great as a physio, helping to diagnose and rehabilitate my shoulder for its shoulder pain and poor posture.The team of receptionist and fellow physios have been great in my treatmentjs_loader

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Shoulder Pain

Seeking a physiotherapist as early as possible would allow a more efficient recovery period. Very often, delaying treatment can cause the condition to worsen over time as it causes scar tissue buildup which can make it more challenging to treat. If you are experiencing shoulder pain that is severe and limiting your movement, do seek treatment immediately.

We are unable to answer this unless we conduct a physical assessment for you. However, we have had many successes with clients who were experiencing frozen shoulders and they were able to regain motion. Do give us a call to set up an appointment to consult with our physiotherapists

Some precautions can be taken to prevent shoulder pain such as warming up before you work out or starting slow if you haven’t done a specific activity in a while. Listen to your body, if it starts to hurts when you exercise or do a certain activity – stop the activity. If the pain doesn’t go away, see a doctor or a certified physiotherapist immediately.

The shoulder is one of the most flexible joints in the body that allows us the widest range of movement, as a result, they are also the most unstable joint, making the shoulder prone to injuries. To determine what is causing your shoulder pain, our physiotherapists would need to conduct an assessment before coming up with a diagnosis for your pain. After determining the diagnosis, we will be able to run through your physical activities to conclude how the pain occurred.

Depending on your condition, your shoulder pain may recover with sufficient rest and care. If it is a simple shoulder strain from exercising, you could experience a dull ache that goes away with time. However, if you are experiencing a sharp pain that limits your movement (eg: unable to move shoulder past a certain height) it would be advised to seek medical advice to determine if the condition is serious or not. If you have been experiencing shoulder pain for a prolonged period of time (more than a few weeks) that doesn’t seem to get better – do make arrangements to seek medical advice to determine the cause of your pain.