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New onset of shoulder pain

I have new shoulder pain, what should I do?

Do not panic. There are many reasons as to why your shoulder can become painful and mostly these events are nothing to worry about. The shoulder is the “foundation” of the arm from which we lift, pull, push, and relies heavily on soft tissues.

If pain is not the result of a slip/trip/fall (trauma) then pain is often the result of the soft tissues being overworked and causing a flare of pain. This can often be easily managed by following some simple steps. Most new shoulder pain will resolve in 6-12 weeks

What can I do to help myself?

Stay Positive

This is a common problem that usually resolves over time (see times suggested above).

Modify Activities

Reduce or change any specific activities that aggravate your symptoms but do not stop completely.

Regular Pain Relief (Paracetamol or Ibuprofen)

Check with a pharmacist for safety if unsure. If stronger pain relief is required please discuss this with your GP.

Use Heat or Ice Packs.

Apply this to the shoulder to help ease the pain (wrap the pack in a towel and check the skin regularly for signs of burns).

What else can I do?

You could also try these simple exercises to help maintain good movement and support the muscles around the shoulder. 



New Onset of Shoulder Pain – Advanced


New Onset of Shoulder Pain – Early


New Onset of Shoulder Pain – Mid

What if I have had a fall?

Please read the “symptoms to check” in the red box on the right of this screen first before using this page.

Get advice from 111 now if:

  • the pain is sudden or extremely severe
  • you cannot move your arm
  • your arm or shoulder has changed shape or is badly swollen
  • you have severe pins and needles that do not go away
  • your arm or shoulder is hot or cold to touch
  • the pain is severe and started after an injury or accident, like a fall
  • hurts when you exercise but goes away when your rest
  • you are experiencing chest pain/tightness with your shoulder pain

111 will tell you what to do. They can tell you the right place to get help if you need to see someone.

Go to or call 111.

If your shoulder pain persists, or you are not sure what to do, you can self-refer to see a local physiotherapist who can help you with your problem.

Physiotherapy self-referral

If you are an NHS patient registered to a qualifying GP surgery, you can now refer yourself directly for MSK physiotherapy without needing an appointment at your GP practice.

You must be aged 16 or over and registered with a Wakefield GP.

Call 01924 224497 or complete the online form by clicking the link below.