In the early phase, pain may be controlled with activity modification and the use of pain relieving or anti-inflammatory medication.

Supervised physiotherapy: You may be advised to see a physiotherapist to start a regime of specific exercises to maintain movements and improve the function of the rotator cuff. There is good evidence to suggest that supervised physiotherapy improves symptoms in the early phase of the condition. The British Elbow and Shoulder Society (BESS) Patient resource on Subacromial Pain has useful information including a help sheet and description of exercises with videos.

Steroid injection: A steroid injection placed accurately into the subcromial space will often provide good short to medium term pain relief allowing progress to be made with physiotherapy. The injection may be repeated on one or two occasions at intervals. It is not advisable to have multiple repeated injections. For further information on steroid injections click here.

Surgery: If symptoms persist despite adequate nonoperative treatment, it may be appropriate to undertake surgical treatment. This consists of arthroscopic or “key-hole” surgery to decompress the subacromial space by shaving some bone from the undersurface of the acromion. Following surgery symptoms will usually settle over a period of time. For further information on surgical treatment, please refer to the procedures section.