To evaluate a pain in the shoulder, the osteopath needs to go through some thorough medical and osteopathic tests that will lead to a correct diagnostic and treatment.
The osteopath needs to isolate as well as determine the structures responsible for the pain in the shoulder region.
The shoulder is a suspended articulation meaning that there can not be pressure in the actual join. The pain is usually caused by a muscle spasm or inflammation, an irritation of the serous bursa or the shoulder caps, muscle calcification or in the worst cases, ruptures or semi-ruptures of the rotator cuff muscles.
The nerves arriving into the shoulder muscles come from the cervical spine, so shoulder pain could also be a consequence of a neck or upper back issue. Therefore, in a case of shoulder problems, the osteopath will have to fully assess the shoulder complex but also the cervical spine, the jaw, the shoulder blades and the upper dorsal region.
More complex causes can also be possible: shoulder pain due to problems in the visceral area, psychosomatic pain, consequences of a dislocation or sub-dislocation. Therefore a very thorough examination of the upper thorax region will have to be done regarding any shoulders problem.
I very often use taping to treat shoulder pain. The kinesio-tape is an elastic structure that helps repositioning the soft tissues and the shoulder complex to a more neutral and relaxed position.
And remember, any mal-position or dysfunction of a structure can potentially lead to pain and discomfort. This is why shoulder taping supports very well the osteopathic treatment.