Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder pain can present as a result of repetitive overuse, sudden direct or indirect trauma (FOOSH injury) or sustained incorrect postures and/or positions (sleeping prone with arms in flexion, abduction and internal rotation).


Patient will present with signs and symptoms of;

  • Weakness
  • Instability
  • Clicking/Clunking
  • Subluxation
  • Pain (sharp, dull, deep, superficial, throbbing)
  • Tension
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Restricted movement (direction will depend on specific diagnosis)


Without the aid of advanced imaging, it can be difficult to identity the specific tissue/s in lesion, the severity of the injury, and the prognosis.

There are however many orthopaedic tests that have high specificity and sensitivity, that practitioners can use to formulate a differential diagnosis. Some of these include:

  • Empty Can Test (Jobe’s Sign – Supraspinatus)
  • Infraspinatus Resisted Test
  • Subacromial Impingement Testing
  • Infraspinatus ERLS Test
  • Hornblower’s Sign – Teres Minor Testing
  • Belly Press Test – Subscapularis Tear (Upper fibres)
  • Bear Hug Test – Subscapularis Tear (Lower fibres)
  • O’Briens Test – Anterior Labral Tear & Superior Labral A-P Tear
  • Speed’s Test – Bicipital Tendinopathy
  • Yergason’s Test – Bicipital Tendinopathy & Transverse Humeral Ligament Rupture
  • Sulcus Sign – Inferior Glenohumeral Instability


The common neuromusculoskeletal diagnoses for injuries of the shoulder include:

  • Scapular instability (winging)
  • Labral tears
  • Rotator cuff tears and/or strains
  • Ligament tears and or strains
  • Dislocations and/or subluxations
  • AC joint strains
  • SC joint strains
  • Impingement syndrome
  • Bursitis injuries
  • Overlying muscle tissue strain
  • Brachial Plexus Irritation


Depending on the diagnosis and the severity of the shoulder injury, patients may respond well to a conservative manual approach involving:

  • Soft tissue therapy
  • Passive joint mobilisation
  • Musculoskeletal dry needling
  • Advanced taping techniques (rigid taping and/or kinesio taping)
  • Progressive injury rehabilitation
  • Date May 1, 2019
  • Tags Chiropractic, Chiropractor, Desk postures, Infraspinatus, Labral tear, Mobilisation, Osteoarthritis, Rotator cuff, Shoulder, Shoulder pain, Stiffness, Stretching, Subscapularis, Supraspinatus, Tension, Teres Minor, Tightness, Treatment, Upper Crossed Syndrome, Weakness