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Why Does My Shoulder Keep Popping?

Do you feel a click, pop, crack or snap when you use your shoulder (e.g. for reaching something, stretching or warming up for an exercise)?

Often it’s just common and it’s how joints normally work (especially in shoulder joints where maximum mobility and rotation is allowed). However, it’s totally different if there’s some swelling, pain and discomfort. The popping sound or feeling might be because of osteoarthritis (cartilage deteriorates), trauma to the shoulder (because of an accident or sports injury), overextension of the shoulder joint (which could dislocate the shoulder) or weak muscles around the shoulder (it’s possible that the shoulder is already dislocated but you didn’t feel anything).

Why does my shoulder keep popping

Another potential cause is inflammation (particularly in a fluid-filled sac called a bursa that’s essential for reducing joint friction). If your exercise routine or favourite sports require you to frequently lift your arms above your head (weight training, swimming, basketball where you always shoot), the overuse of the joints could result in inflammation.

It may or may not hurt but often the pain and the symptoms build up gradually until it becomes alarming. As a result, it’s important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible (through physical examination and/or CT scans). Then a tailored treatment and rehabilitation plan will be prepared according to your specific condition.

Many people delay visiting the doctor or physiotherapist because of fear that it might be something serious. Many are also afraid that the resulting treatment will affect their work and lifestyle. It’s true that the rehabilitation requires rest for some time and you might be required to stop some of your exercise routines (especially heavy lifting). The good news is that you can still do most of your daily activities (especially at home and work). Also, there will still be exercises you can do that would help you stay fit during the recovery period.

For example, our patients and clients here at Wellers Hill and Woolloongabba Physiotherapy were still able to stay active while waiting for their shoulders and other joints to heal. It’s the result of our thorough diagnosis which resulted in the proper and tailored design of the treatment. Within two or three treatment sessions, our patients have already felt the difference and their mobility has greatly improved. Those sessions might involve soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, strapping or bracing to limit shoulder movement and supportive exercises. Each session is productive and with the clear aim of helping them restore their mobility and prevent recurrence.

If you want to learn more about how we can help in making your shoulder feel normal again, you can consult us here at Wellers Hill and Woolloongabba Physiotherapy. Weekdays and Saturday morning (8am to 12nn) you can talk with us and tell us about your shoulder discomfort and concern.