Here is a simple strapping we like to do at iMove to help with shoulder pain.


We don’t really know. There have been many theories and mechanisms proposed. It does change the way you move in the short term and this could offload the joint. It does stimulate all the sensory nerves in the area and this again may change movement and therefore offload the irritated structures. It may just make you more aware of the whole situation and give you a feedback loop before you do the things that irritate your shoulder.

Most likely it is a combination of all those things and that may give you a sense of security, pain reduction, and make you feel there’s some improvement from niggling shoulder symptoms.


Ideally, we only like to strap for 24-48 hours. We know the strapping significantly ‘loosens’ in the first few hours but it still may provide good sensory feedback after that. This is also usually enough to subjectively provide 1-2-3 points of pain relief on a 10 point scale. Any longer than 48 hours and you also run the risk of skin irritation.

Practically we might strap you for 48 hours and then take it off for a day. If you’re still irritable we can strap you again for another 48 hours.


We had this really nice umbrella term for most shoulder pathologies called ‘impingement’. Quite simply the structures in your shoulder were being compressed and this would cause pain and inflammation. Think about painting your house, swimming more or lifting too much weight. This makes sense and is easy to understand why your shoulder would be sore.

Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that ‘impingement’ is quite normal and happens in everyone's shoulder. More specifically, structures like your rotator cuff and bursae get compressed with almost every shoulder movement.

If we look even further, most healthy, PAIN FREE individuals have some kind of, ‘abnormal’ finding on Ultrasound or MRI. That’s right, PAIN FREE individuals have bursitis, shoulder degeneration and even rotator cuff tendinitis… however they are not reporting pain???

What the hell?

This led to physio’s and other health professionals labelling shoulder imaging findings like bursitis etc as “wrinkles on the inside”. Wrinkles on your skin are a sign of ageing but don't cause pain or problems. This is exactly like bursitis or degeneration. A sign of ageing but not of pain... “Like wrinkles on the inside.”

This then led to us simplifying everything and using less threatening and scary diagnosis. So instead of saying you have bursitis we would say you have an ‘irritated’ or ‘grumpy’ shoulder. This is great for shoulder pain patients as it’s less threatening, has less fear associated with it and the words ‘grumpy’ and ‘irritated’ come with a feeling of… “oh… that’s going to get better.”

Conversely, if you think of “degeneration” we think, “well, that’s not changing, so I’ll probably be in pain forever”.

“Settle shit down, build it back up again”

As crude as it sounds, this quote from one of the great physio knowledge bases, Greg Lehman, is changing the health profession. We are moving away from scans, images and specific diagnosis and instead focussing on reducing symptoms with things like altered movement, changing load, soft tissue work and taping. After that acute, painful phase the best evidence lies in strengthening for 6-12 weeks to both decrease future injury and improve quality of life.

This is where taping, like shown in the video at the start of this clip, is a great option to settle irritated or grumpy shoulders down. We use the shoulder less, we move differently and often this is enough to reduce pain.

Once the tape comes off we start to build capacity and strengthen the shoulder up. Who doesn’t want strong, nice looking shoulders that don’t cause them pain?


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