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Tradies - sore shoulder?

Published: August 2, 2022

The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the human body. It is also the body’s most mobile joint which means it is prone to instability.

Shoulder pain is one of the more common types of joint issues that a tradie deals with, whether it’s just worn and tear from overuse or something more serious like a rotator cuff tear.

Today we’re going to talk about why you are experiencing shoulder pain and how you can fix it. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders have been defined as “injuries caused or aggravation to the muscles, tendons, joints, and nerves by work” [1]. Shoulder pain is the second highest cause of pain among tradies, only behind back pain. This is due to the physical nature of the work which is quite demanding on the body and includes carrying, lifting, or moving heavy materials, vibrations from tools, working in extreme temperatures, twisting of the shoulder joint, repetitive movements and working overhead. Use of the arm above shoulder level for long periods of time is a risk factor for developing rotator cuff tears [2]. Furthermore, vibrations from tools and awkward posture are two other major risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders of the shoulder [3]. In addition, execution of tasks by tradies that require twisting of the shoulder joints and neck puts strain on the body for long periods of time. This can cause fatigue on the joints, tendons, and muscles, lead to injuries or in severe cases it can lead to permanent deformation. Tradies usually work for long days, working eight hours or more, which puts a lot of strain on the body for long periods of time [1]. Therefore, if you have shoulder pain and find yourself doing any of these tasks or movements through your day at work this is likely the cause.

If you’re a tradie with a sore shoulder, here are some tips to manage it:


Stretching and strengthening the muscles in and around the shoulder can help to manage pain and reduce the risk of further injury once the injury has healed. This is due to improving flexibility and creating resilience in the joint.


When the shoulder is feeling stiff and pain with movement, applying heat to the affected area can relieve pain and ease tension. Use a heat pack at the end of the day to relieve pain and increase movement in the shoulder.


Due to the physical nature of tradies work, rest is one of the most effective ways to reduce pain and recover from strain or injury. But how do you rest when you work 5/6 days a week?

Here are a few ways to rest the shoulder while still getting the job done:

· Alternate tasks so you’re not using the shoulder for long periods of time

· Use lunch breaks to stretch the shoulder out

· Wear a shoulder support when lifting heavy or moving the arm

Steps To Reduce the Risk Of Injury

1. Take regular breaks when you need it

2. Ask for help if the job at hand requires more than one person

3. Be mindful and focused: ask yourself if there is a better way to do the task at hand and always have full concentration

4. Don’t ignore aches and pains, its better to get checked out as soon as possible so it doesn’t get worse, and you don’t have to miss work because of it

How Back In Motion Can Help Tradies

1. Treat your injury through chiropractic adjustments and massage

2. Give you tips on how to get back on track

3. Correct your posture and body mechanics which helps to reduce the risk of injury

4. Correct your lifting technique so that you are lifting with your legs instead of your back which puts strain on the joints

5. Prescribe an exercise program to stretch and strengthen your muscles which greatly reduces the risk of injury

If you need help with your shoulder pain, or just want advice on prevention of injuries call Back In Motion Cranbourne on 59984554 or book an appointment online at


[1] Saedpanah, K, Motamedzade, M, Salimi, K, Eskandari, T & Samaei, S. Physical Risk Factors among Construction Workers by Workplace Ergonomic Risk Assessment (WERA) Method. Archives of Occuptional Health. 2018; 2(1):56-62.

[2] Loew, M, Doustdar, S, Drath, C, Weber, M, Bruckner, T, Porschke, F, Raiss, P, Schiltenwolf, M, Almansour, H & Akbar, M. Could long-term overhead load in painters be associated with rotator cuff lesions? A pilot study. Plos One. 2019; 14(6).

[3] Charles, L, Ma, C, Burchfiel, C & Dong, R. Vibration and Ergonomic Exposures Associated With Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Shoulder and Neck. Safety and Health at Work. 2018; 9(2): 125-132.