Can sitting at my desk for too long be causing my shoulder pain?

Apr 28, 2021

Shoulder pain has become increasingly common among the UK population throughout 2020 and now into 2021, but why? Many of us are now suffering with a persistent shoulder pain and asking ourselves this exact question. The truth is, there are many reasons you may be suffering with shoulder pain and one of the main ones we are seeing right now is ‘stiff/tight shoulders’ due to lock-downs.

Tight shoulders can also cause pain or stiffness in your neck, back, and upper body, and limit your daily activities. Your shoulders may feel tight and stiff as the result of many things: stress, tension, overuse or underuse. Tight shoulders are mainly caused by sitting for extended periods, which is why we are seeing a huge rise in the numbers of patients with shoulder pains due to working from home. Tight or stiff shoulders can also occur from incorrect sleeping positions, and injuries. Poor posture and improper alignment of your body can also play a part.

Improper posture and sitting for extended periods go hand in hand as lock-downs and our new routines of working from home has left many of us unequipped with inadequate work stations. These DIY work stations are usually being formed of dressing tables/ dining tables and dining chairs, some of us may even be sitting on sofas. All of which are not the correct and advised home office ergonomics and are now having a detrimental effect on our posture with improper alignments and heights. Dining chairs offer little to absolutely no back support which then forces our backs to curve and slouch resulting in our shoulders being in improper alignment.

By now we all know that sitting at an improper work station can cause extra shoulder aches and pains that we didn’t have before, but not only this… you could also cause a serious injury. Shoulder injuries and pain are common in people who work at home. The abnormal posture when someone slouches over a laptop for several hours each day can leadto tendonitisbursitis and impingement of the shoulder. This is the altered mechanics around the shoulder, which result from this abnormal posture, and can lead to injuries when people then go on to play sport or train in the gym. This now leads us on to our second most common type of shoulder pain, the ‘coming out of lock-down’ shoulder pain.

Many of us have now decided to head back into the gym or start playing the organised outdoor sport that we used to love pre-lockdown such as tennis or golf. However, after such an extended amount of time with our bodies stagnant without our usual routines and sports keeping us fit and our joints supple, our bodies are not quite ready to return to this. This is why many of our patients are coming in with sport related shoulder pain and injuries after pushing themselves a little too hard. It is easily done for many of us as we are familiar with our old sporting activities and so we assume this time off won’t make a difference but it does. At ALO we are encouraging that if you are going back into the gym after this time or want to start getting back into your usual sport again that you allow yourself a 2-day rest break between each activity. This allows time to ease back into it and avoid injury or pain. We also advise that you work out or play your sport for just half of the time you used to initially. For those of you who perhaps never played tennis or golf in the past but are looking to try it now since we are out of the lock-down…DON’T! The main source of injuries at the moment is of patients diving into a new sport they have never played before and shocking their body resulting in injury. We recommend starting with a sport that you used to play but performing the tips above before moving onto any new sports or gym routines.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain due to any of the reasons above then seeing a physiotherapist will enable you to recover quickly and get back to sports, work and the things you enjoy most.

How a physiotherapist can help


We will ask you in detail about the symptoms and assess the biomechanics of how you move, your posture and the function of your muscles, joints and ligaments.


We will then diagnose the cause of the neck pain; this may include identification of a number of factors which have contributed to the pain starting.


We will formulate a treatment plan and discuss this with you. Treatments will first be targeted at reducing pain and then rehabilitation to maximise functioning of the affected area. Treatments may include:

  • Manual Therapy
  • Rehabilitative exercise
  • Acupuncture
  • Electrotherapy

To book in for your free initial assessment please call us on: 0207 636 8845


Since seeing Louise (following an Achilles rupture repair), I have:

- Made it back onto tennis / squash courts to (tentatively!) celebrate 1 year anniversary of my surgery 
- Ran my fastest 10k at 43.57! 
- Ran 5k in 21:30 (vs pre-surgery PB of 20:18) 
- I increased my single leg calf lift to 59 kg (vs ~18 kg initially a few months ago) 
- I had a final appt with my consultant, who discharged me while congratulating me on a wonderful recovery

All the above is to illustrate that I'm absolutely delighted with the progress I have made since last summer when I couldn't do anything and the outlook seemed bleak. I'll be forever grateful for Louise’s guidance and support as I've navigated the long road back from my injury, and I appreciate the continued advice to help me prepare for more dynamic activity. Louise has been really fantastic and I couldn't have asked for better care.

Recovering from a full Achilles rupture. Started my work with Nina in feb and my progress has only been positive and upwards and I am almost at full speed again. Nina put me back together again almost from scratch. She is the best physio I have ever worked with and will again. Very knowledgable and very hard working. Can’t recommend enough.


What a great find! My orthopaedic surgeon recommended them and I can't rate Luigi, Gloria and the team more highly. Excellent service and very effective treatment- recovering nicely!


I am 84 years old, and have always been fit and healthy and exercised regularly. 3 years ago I underwent emergency surgery for peritonitis, and had a colonoscopy bag for 6 months and straight after surgery to reversal of the stoma. After this surgery I felt my legs very weak. To complete my drama, during the last summer I developed an abdominal hernia and had surgery for hernia repair. This made me even weaker specially at my legs. I have recovered but felt weak. I started my sessions at ALO Physiotherapy at the beginning of January, with the Vibra Machine combined with specific exercises. I have now recovered my body strength, particularly in the legs. I am now walking normally and without pain. I am delighted!


Great clinic with great people! I was so lucky to find this clinic and even more when I met Andre. He's a very talented therapist and a wonderful person who makes you feel comfortable every time. He helped me to resolve my back problems in few appointments and I will be always grateful to him! From my experience is the best clinic in London and I highly recommend them without any doubts!


One of the best physiotherapy centres in the world! The professionalism and knowledge of this centre amazed me.


I am so glad I found this clinic. Luigi has been amazing. After my 1st session I felt an improvement and now have ALOT more movement and significant reduction in pain. I couldn’t recommend this clinic & Luigi enough. So helpful and flexible whenever I have needed to amend appointments. Every one is fantastic. I will continue to come here for as long as I need.


Andre is the best physiotherapist I came across. As a dedicated martial arts practitioner, I regularly use his services. He has always managed to fix my various back and leg injuries. I would recommend Alo Physiotherapy to anyone who suffers from body pain.


Where do I begin? The journey has been too long with Andre Oliveira and ALO Clinic , as he helped me both physically and mentally to overcome an injury I had in both of my knees. A small injury , after following wrong treatment became chronic and I found myself unable to walk/stand/run and do the simplest things- the mental impact was worse. I was introduced to Andre by Eleftherios Pavlidis who runs Laertion in Athens. lefteris with his team were the first to accommodate the problem and told me what I need to do. As a Londoner, I was introduced to Andre and ALO Clinic, and the rest is history. Since February 2017 when I had the first session with Andre and he identified the biomechanic nature of the problem, along with the use of Tecar the results were visible after one month. Since then, along with personal effort and strengthening I did always guided by Andre, I the problem is restored and the pain is gone. I highly recommend ALO Physiotherapy Clinic , and Andre Oliveira for anyone who suffers from sport injuries , amateurs or professional top athletes.


Very professional staff and friendly environment. I felt a lot better after very first session. Appointment are easily available. I would definitely recommend this place


The care I received from ALO Physiotherapy was outstanding from the first session to the last. Sessions with Louise were informative as well as practical, allowing me to understand the context/logic behind treatment as well as tips to prevent future injuries. Louise was always readily available to answer my questions and the treatment process was collaborative rather than being prescriptive. Beyond the expertise of the team the quality of the equipment and facilities was incredibly high and aided my recovery significantly. I would recommend ALO Physiotherapy to anyone who requires physiotherapy treatment in the Marylebone area.

ALO is an excellent well-run clinic and Louise Hynes who looked after me is a superb physiotherapist. Louise is knowledgeable, skilled and very efficient at her job. My sore shoulder was sorted out in no time thanks to her. Thank you, Louise, and thank you ALO.

Julian Webber, Harley Street Endodontist.

ALO is an excellent well-run clinic and Louise Hynes who looked after me is a superb physiotherapist. Louise is knowledgeable, skilled and very efficient at her job. My sore shoulder was sorted out in no time thanks to her. Thank you, Louise, and thank you ALO.

Julian Webber, Harley Street Endodontist.

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