Subacromial Shoulder Pain

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Subacromial Shoulder Pain

Subacromial shoulder pain (or SSP) has been referred to by many other terms in the past including subacromial impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tendinopathy and rotator cuff-related shoulder pain. The terminology has changed continuously as the cause of this pain is still not well understood, with multiple structures being involved including the rotator cuff muscles and tendons, biceps tendon, subacromial bursa, and surrounding ligaments. Shoulder pain is estimated to be the third most common musculoskeletal problem behind back and neck pain, with a lifetime prevalence of up to 70% [1].

What should you do if you are experiencing shoulder pain?

Shoulder pain can be a debilitating condition, and needs a thorough assessment to determine the appropriate course of action and treatment. Depending on the severity, you may wish to see either your family doctor or physiotherapist. Here at AFIA physiotherapy, our physiotherapists have the clinical skills to provide a thorough assessment and conduct a variety of tests to assess your shoulder pain to help provide a diagnosis. 

How can we treat and manage your shoulder pain?

Depending on the underlying causes for your shoulder pain, your management will vary to address the primary concerns. Based on the most up-to-date research published in March 2020, a graduated exercise program and manual physiotherapy management should be the primary treatment option [2]. Our physiotherapists can provide the appropriate joint mobilisations, soft tissue techniques and neurodynamic mobilisations alongside an effective exercise program to help get you back to the things you love.

Written by Tyler Hamilton


  1. Luime, J., Koes, B., Hendriksen, I., Burdorf, A., Verhagen, A., Miedema, H., & Verhaar, J. (2004). Prevalence and incidence of shoulder pain in the general population; a systematic review [Review of Prevalence and incidence of shoulder pain in the general population; a systematic review]. Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, 33(2), 73–81. Taylor & Francis.
  2. Pieters, L., Lewis, J., Kuppens, K., Jochems, J., Bruijstens, T., Joossens, L., & Struyf, F. (2019). An Update of Systematic Reviews Examining the Effectiveness of Conservative Physiotherapy Interventions for Subacromial Shoulder Pain. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 50(3), 1–33.