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Physiotherapy For Shoulder Pain In Singapore

A painful shoulder can be an uncomfortable and inconvenient condition that severely reduces a person’s quality of life.

While some shoulder ailments resolve in a short time, other conditions worsen in pain and can turn into debilitating lifelong issues without timely intervention. Starting with a thorough assessment, a physiotherapist can identify the underlying cause of the shoulder pain and come up with a plan to facilitate a return to normal activities.

Possible Causes Of Shoulder Pain

There are several causes of shoulder pain ranging from a simple sprain to a shoulder fracture. The following are some common conditions that cause shoulder pain:

Rotator Cuff Sprain/Tear

The rotator cuff refers to the group of four muscles and tendons that hold your shoulders in place and enable your arms to move up and down. Rotator cuff injuries can happen if you overexert yourself by lifting heavy objects or fall on your shoulder. Your rotator cuff muscles might experience wear and tear over time. Physiotherapy for shoulder ligament injury can help with pain in this area, although some cases might require further evaluation and surgery.

Frozen Shoulder AKA Adhesive Capsulitis

A frozen shoulder is characterised by pain, stiffness and loss of range of motion in the shoulder. While the cause of a frozen shoulder is as yet inconclusive, frozen shoulder generally afflicts people who have had their shoulder immobilised for a long period of time, such as through a stroke, surgery or a fracture. Your physiotherapist will be able to provide advice on the physiotherapy to address your frozen shoulder.


Pain while moving your shoulder can be an indication of bursitis. Bursitis happens when the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the movement of your joints become inflamed or irritated due to trauma. Physiotherapy for bursitis can help rehabilitate the range of movement in your shoulder and guide you with appropriate strengthening exercises.


Osteoarthritis, more commonly known as arthritis affecting the joints, is an extremely painful condition that usually occurs with old age. The cartilage cushioning the bones wears down over time, causing pain while using the joint. The symptoms can be managed with medication and physiotherapy for knee osteoarthritis and other affected areas.

Why Do You Need Physiotherapy For Your Shoulder Pain?

Physiotherapy is generally a part of the management and rehabilitation process for shoulder pain in Singapore. Here’s how it addresses various aspects of shoulder health:

Improve Range of Motion After Injury

After an injury, such as a shoulder fracture, the range of motion can become significantly limited, impacting daily activities. Physiotherapy can help improve the range of motion of the shoulder through progressive exercises such as joint mobilisation, stretches, and therapeutic exercises that gradually encourage the joint to move through its full capacity. This helps in loosening tight tissues around the joint, facilitating easier and more comfortable movement. In the long run, this is crucial to return to normal activities and to maintain the functional use of the shoulder.

Address Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can have various causes, including but not limited to bursitis, frozen shoulder, or chronic conditions like osteoarthritis. By understanding the symptoms and the cause, shoulder physiotherapy in Singapore can help manage and address this pain.

Improve Muscle Strength and Endurance

Weakness in the shoulder muscles may lead to instability and increased risk of injury. Physiotherapy focuses on strengthening exercises that target the specific muscles around the shoulder. Improving muscle strength can contribute to better joint stability, while boosting endurance allows those muscles to perform activities without fatiguing quickly.

Exercise To Do For Shoulder Pain

Alongside physiotherapy, regularly engaging in appropriate exercises can be a way to address shoulder pain. These exercises aim to improve range of motion, strengthen the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint, and reduce discomfort. It is essential to perform these exercises correctly and consistently to manage your condition. This might include:

  • Shoulder Rolls: This gentle exercise involves circular motions of the shoulders and can help relieve tension and stiffness in the shoulder muscles.
  • Arm Across-Chest Stretch: Gently pull one arm across your chest just below your chin as far as possible without causing pain. This stretch works the posterior shoulder muscles.
  • Neck Release: A side stretch for your neck can indirectly relieve shoulder tension. Tilt your head toward one shoulder and hold for up to one minute. Repeat on the other side.
  • Pendulum Exercise: Lean over slightly and let the affected arm hang down. Swing the arm gently in small circles, gradually increasing the diameter as flexibility improves.

It is advisable to consult with your physiotherapist before beginning any new exercise regimen, particularly if you are experiencing shoulder pain. Your physiotherapist can suggest a set of exercises based on the specific diagnosis and individual capability.

For individuals undergoing shoulder physiotherapy, such as after suffering a fracture, these exercises may be adjusted in intensity and frequency to match the recovery stages of the shoulder.

Care Tips For Shoulder Pain

Proper care and self-management can play a role in managing shoulder pain in Singapore. Here are some tips to consider:

Try Shoulder Exercises

Incorporating shoulder exercises into your daily routine can strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility. Simple exercises such as shoulder rolls and pendulum exercises can be done at home. It is important to start with low-intensity exercises and gradually increase the intensity as your pain decreases and your strength improves.

Take Adequate Rest

If you’ve sustained a shoulder injury or are experiencing increased pain, taking a break from activities that exacerbate your condition is essential. This doesn’t mean you should immobilise the shoulder completely as gentle movement is important to maintain range of motion.

Reduce Strain

Minimise activities that put excess strain on your shoulder. This may involve adjusting your work environment, changing your sleeping position, or altering your exercise routine. Listen to your body and avoid movements that trigger pain.

Fix Posture

Good posture can alleviate unnecessary stress on the shoulder joint. Pay attention to your posture throughout the day, especially if you work at a desk. Keep your shoulders back and relaxed, and your computer monitor at eye level to prevent hunching.

Use Cold Packs

For acute shoulder pain, cold packs can help reduce swelling and numb the affected area, providing temporary pain relief. Apply a cold pack for short intervals, ensuring there’s a protective layer between the ice and your skin.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shoulder Physiotherapy

When should I start physiotherapy after a shoulder fracture?

Shoulder physiotherapy generally commences as advised by your physiotherapist. The exact timing, however, can be variable, depending on several factors associated with the nature of the injury and the therapy approach:

  • Type of fracture: More complex fractures may require longer immobilisation.
  • Healing response: Individual healing rates and the presence of complications can influence when to start.
  • Surgical intervention: If surgery was necessary, physiotherapy often begins soon after to aid in recovery.

Can a fractured shoulder heal on its own?

A fractured shoulder may not require surgery if the bones remain properly aligned. In these cases, immobilisation with a sling helps maintain the shoulder’s position as the body responds to the injury. That being said, it is crucial for a healthcare provider to oversee this process and advise on any needed rehabilitation, including potential physiotherapy, to maintain range of motion.

Is a shoulder fracture serious?

A shoulder fracture is regarded as a serious condition due to the potential impact on joint function and the complexity of the shoulder structure. While some fractures may be stable, others can disrupt the alignment of the shoulder, which may necessitate medical intervention for proper management. It is essential for individuals with a suspected shoulder fracture to seek professional assessment to determine the nature of the fracture and to receive guidance on the appropriate physiotherapy.

About Rapid Physiocare

Rapid Physiocare is a physiotherapy clinic in Singapore that focuses on addressing shoulder pain as a result of fractures, bursitis, osteoarthritis, and other conditions. Home to a team of qualified professionals, the clinic provides physiotherapy care to help patients manage their condition and improve their mobility. Find out more about Rapid Physiocare and its services.