Skip to main content
Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain: symptoms, causes and relief

Your shoulder is a very flexible joint and can make many everyday tasks difficult when you experience shoulder pain. To treat shoulder pain effectively, you need to understand what’s causing the issue. Find out more below about symptoms, causes and the treatment available for shoulder pain.

What are the symptoms of shoulder pain?

There are a number of symptoms you may notice, the most common of which include:

  • Pain that’s often worse while using your arm or shoulder
  • Tingling, numb, weak arm, feels like the shoulder is clicking or locking
  • Pain and stiffness that does not go away over months or years
  • Sudden very bad pain, difficult to move your arm
  • Pain on top of the shoulder (where the collarbone and shoulder joint meet)

What causes shoulder pain?

There are a number of shoulder pain causes, some of which include:

  • Injury – There are a number of injuries that can cause shoulder pain, this can include accidents, falls or sports injuries
  • Certain medical conditions – There are a number of conditions which cause issues with the shoulder joints. These include arthritis, hypermobility and more.
  • Dislocation – When the joint comes out of place, this is called a dislocation, it can be very painful and if you believe your shoulder is dislocated seek medical attention from a healthcare professional straight away.
  • Shoulder joint inflammation – Sometimes, the joint can become inflamed and irritable

What are the different types of shoulder pain?

There are different types of shoulder pain, which can occur for a number of different reasons. Some of the most common types are listed below.

  • Tendonitis – When tendons swell due to inflammation after a tendon injury, it is called tendonitis. This can cause joint pain, stiffness and movement.
  • Osteoarthritis – Sometimes, the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint; this is called osteoarthritis and causes painful and stiff joints.
  • Frozen shoulder – When you have a frozen shoulder, you may experience a painful and stiff joint for months or sometimes, years.
  • Bursitis – When you have Bursitis, a joint called the bursa that cushions your joints becomes, inflamed causing pain, tenderness of skin and at times swollen joints.

What treatment is available for shoulder pain?

When seeking relief for shoulder pain, there are different types of treatment available:

Over-the-counter painkillers – Depending on your pain and its cause, there are a number of shoulder pain relief medications available. Options such as Anadin Joint Pain Tablets set out to relieve aches and inflammation by targeting the joints that are causing pain, providing up to 8 hours of relief.* Similarly, Anadin Ultra works rapidly to ease symptoms of pain and inflammation for up to 8 hours of relief*.

*Based on a 400mg dose.

  • Antibiotics when the pain is caused by infection – Some conditions, such as Bursitis, can be caused by an infection. When there is an infection, a healthcare professional will prescribe antibiotics as a recommended course of action.
  • Steroid injections can be given to reduce swelling – To reduce inflammation, steroid injections can reduce inflammation throughout the body.
  • Physiotherapy – Physiotherapists work to get bodies moving after injury or illness. They work with you to identify how best to get you moving again through different exercises1 . If you are in extreme pain, or your shoulder pain hasn’t eased after two weeks, seek medical attention from a healthcare professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does heat help shoulder pain?

Yes, heat can help to relieve shoulder pain. It’s recommended to use a hot water bottle wrapped in a tea towel for up to 20 minutes 2-3 times a day. You can also use ice for shoulder pain, using frozen peas in a tea towel for 20 minutes three times a day.

How to sleep with shoulder pain?

Trying to sleep with shoulder pain can be difficult, but it is possible. Simply sleeping on your back can still put some strain on the joint; however, if you rest your arm on a folded blanket to keep it aligned, it can help ease the pain. Avoid sleeping on the affected shoulder, and if you are concerned about rolling onto the painful shoulder, utilise a pillow in a way that will prevent this from happening.

So, is it sinusitis or a cold?

What differentiates sinusitis and a sinus infection from a common cold is that feeling of pressure in your forehead, your cheekbones or behind the eyes. The pressure can also cause a sinus headache.

Sometimes the pain can extend to the ear and the jaw. Pain around the face will often feel more severe when you bend forward. Some people say the pressure feels like it’s throbbing.

You may feel more tired than usual and often an infection is accompanied by a fever. So if your fever doesn’t go away within a few days, it could indicate a sinus infection, especially if you have that thick yellow or green mucus discharge.

What’s the treatment for sinusitis?

Sinus infections feel uncomfortable but they can be treated, and most people recover within a few days or weeks without a visit to their doctor. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to relieve your discomfort.


A decongestant comes in the form of pills or a nasal spray. These are easy to use and act to reduce the swelling of the blood vessels in the nose. This makes it easier to breathe again. If your sinusitis is due to a cold or flu, decongestant caplets can give you quick relief from a stuffy nose, sore throat, fever, and body aches. Although generally safe, some decongestants can raise blood pressure in patients.


Sinus headache pain can feel very unpleasant. Over-the-counter medications like Panadol Extra (paracetamol) give you quick and effective pain relief. Panadol is also suitable for reducing fever, body aches, and other symptoms that cause you discomfort. When you need quick relief from physical aches, try Panadol Extra Soluble which is absorbed twice as fast as Panadol Extra.


If your sinusitis is caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic. But remember, overuse of antibiotics could cause resistance and other side effects so make sure you speak to your doctor and only use them if painkillers like Panadol and other treatments do not work.


If an allergic reaction is the source of your sinusitis, you can try an antihistamine. These are available in pill form or as nasal sprays and can be used alongside painkillers to provide lasting relief.

Nasal irrigation

Flushing the nasal passages with a simple salt-water mix is useful to dislodge some of the mucus. If you’re using tap water, make sure to boil the water first, let it cool, and then add a pinch baking soda and five grams of pickling salt to a half litre of water.

Avoiding sinus infections

Avoidance is the best medicine. Here are a few tips to avoid sinus infection in the first place:

1. Stay healthy, eat healthy, and exercise to keep a strong immune system.

2. Wash your hands and practice good hygiene

3. Limit exposure to allergens.

4. Take antihistamines if you suffer from allergies.

5. Limit exposure to other irritants.

Rarely do sinus infections cause more serious conditions and with the right sinusitis treatment you can recover quickly, but if you do not feel better—even after taking antibiotics—it’s important to see a doctor immediately.

Anadin Extra

Anadin Products

Read more

Where to buy Anadin

Where to buy Anadin

Read more

Panadol adult product packshot range

Adult Products

Read more


Where to buy

Read more

Related articles