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Shoulder snapping or popping is a very common issue. It is so common that this is one of the most frequently searched topics on the internet regarding physical therapy. Many patients in our clinic want to know why their shoulder snaps and pops.
The shoulder is a very complex joint composed of bone, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and two different linings we call the bursa and the synovium. When these structures are injured the smooth functioning of the shoulder can pop, snap or click. These injuries can be just due to everyday use. Also chronic repetitive stress of sports, significant trauma and a fall or accident can cause greater more complex problems.

If my shoulder pops should I be worried?
Most of the time the clicking or snapping is due to everyday use and changes that occur naturally within our joints. As we get older this causes some of the surfaces to get rougher. When they rub against one another they will snap, click, or pop within the shoulder. Most of the time snapping or clicking of the shoulder is not an issue. Painless clicking and popping usually may not require any treatment at all except stretching and remedial massage to relieve the tension on the joint..
On the other hand, clicking or popping of the shoulder may soon occur after an injury. This could mean that you have sustained an injury that needs special attention.


There are occasions when popping or snapping could flag a problem in your shoulder.

  • If your shoulder was injured and it is sliding in and out of place, it may snap or pop due to instability.
  • If the rotator cuff or labrum was injured or torn, the torn edge could snap or pop.
  • When a piece of cartilage has torn loose and you have a floating section getting caught in the shoulder joint.
  • When the snapping is in the back of the shoulder, it could be an issue with your shoulder blade, or scapula.


Book your Massage or Remedial Massage by ringing Cheryl Young and Graham Honeyman at Rainbow Bay Massage on 0419609232 in Tweed Heads Coolangatta Gold Coast
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