Shoulder pain can be an agonizing experience, especially if it is chronic shoulder pain. Finding shoulder pain relief that works is a necessity for you to live your life on your terms. Fortunately, there are a lot of things that you can do to get relief from shoulder pain. By reading on, you will learn about the common causes for shoulder pain, as well as the different approaches to relieve it.
The most appropriate solutions for your shoulder pain can be dependent on the type of shoulder pain that you are suffering from. In this section, you will learn about some of the most common causes of shoulder pain so that you can best treat the problem.
Frozen shoulder is an ailment where your shoulder is very limited in how well your joint can move. Adhesions, which are abnormal tissue bands, build up and cause your joint to be limited in its movement. Between the pain and surgery, these adhesions can build up further due to the lack of use of your shoulder.
This can be one of the most common shoulder problems. If your shoulder is rotated too far or is pulled back too hard, the arm bone will pop out of the socket. When this happens you will feel pain and weakness in the shoulder along with bruising, numbness, and swelling.
If you fall or take a nasty hit, you can get a fracture. Commonly the clavicle and humerus are broken, but this can still impact your shoulder. For instance, if your collarbone is broken your shoulder will sag. This can cause pain to your shoulder as well as limit its movement.
Inside of your joints is a fluid-filled sac known as a bursa which cushions the joints. Repetitive motions and injuries can cause swelling and irritation in the bursa, leading to pain as you move your shoulder.
The term “rotator cuff” refers to the group of muscles and tendons in your shoulder that are responsible for keeping your arm in place and lifting your arm. This can be damaged through injury, overuse or even age. Typically you will notice this pain more at nighttime or whenever you attempt to lift anything. You may also hear a crackling sound as you move it.
Known as being a degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. This can affect any joint in your body, including the shoulders. With this condition, the cartilage between the bones breaks down and causes the bones to rub together. Osteoarthritis can lead to stiffness and pain.
This is a disease where your body’s immune system actually attacks the protective lining in your joints. Sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis tend to have pain and stiffness in their shoulders.
It isn’t uncommon to tear the cartilage in your shoulders. This commonly occurs when you injure the shoulder, your shoulder takes a huge hit, or through repetitive motions. You often feel the pain of this type of injury when you reach your arm over your head and your shoulder may feel weak. You may also feel a sensation as if your arm is catching, grinding, or locking.[i]
These are just a few of the most common causes of shoulder pain. If you have any concerns about your shoulder pain, you should see a doctor. They can diagnose your condition to help you find the best treatment options for your shoulder pain.
Depending on the specific problem, you will need to take different approaches to finding relief. This is why it is so important to seek medical help before you try treating the problem yourself. If you take the wrong treatment approach, you may end up causing more damage instead of helping relieve your shoulder pain. Here are some of the best remedies for relieving shoulder pain.
In many cases, rest can be a very effective remedy for your shoulder. You want to be sure that you rest it enough to let the inflammation subside, but if you rest it too much this can lead to frozen shoulder.
Ice packs are most commonly used to reduce the swelling and gain relief from the pain immediately after a shoulder injury. You can also use ice packs to treat injuries caused by shoulder overuse like bursitis, rotator cuff tears or tendinitis. However, these are most effective if they are used immediately after an overhead activity to reduce the onset of inflammation that may occur.
Heating pads are another common treatment for chronic shoulder pain, though this is typically used prior to performing the overhead activity. This is because heat can relax your muscles, as well as reduce your pain and stiffness.
Before you go ahead and use either heat or ice for your shoulder pain, you should talk to your doctor or your physical therapist. They can create a plan that will work for your problem, such as how long these treatments should be applied to optimize your recovery.
There are two medicines that are typically recommended for shoulder pain: steroid injections and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories). NSAIDs can be obtained through prescriptions or over the counter. Over-the-counter options include ibuprofen and naproxen. Prescription NSAIDs include products like diclofenac. These are typically used for shoulder problems such as tendinitis, bursitis and arthritis. NSAIDs should be used under the guidance of your doctor and only for a short period of time. These medications do carry some risks, especially with prolonged use. You should let your doctor know if you suffer from liver or kidney disease, stomach ulcers or are pregnant before starting this type of treatment.
Another medication option is the use of steroid injections. The doctor will give a cortisone shot to the area of the shoulder where you are experiencing pain. Cortisone is an extremely powerful steroid that treats inflammation. These injections are not only good for helping to relieve pain but can also better allow you to engage in your physical therapy. [ii]
In extreme situations, getting a surgical intervention can be the best approach to remedying your shoulder pain. If other treatment options have not worked to relieve the pain, your doctors may recommend getting surgery. An orthopedic surgeon can confirm if this is a necessary step and they will perform the procedure if needed.
Physical therapy is a common approach to treating a wide variety of orthopedic conditions including shoulder injuries. Physical therapists are specialists in using various modalities made for restoring mobility, increasing strength and allowing patients to get back to their normal level of activity.
Shoulder rehabilitation was created to focus on the flexibility and strength of the shoulder. If you do not have an adequate range of motion, you will be unable to perform the basic everyday tasks that you need to. A lot of the time, people with shoulder pain have difficulty doing some very basic tasks like buckling their seatbelt or even combing their hair. Shoulder rehab also strengthens the muscles around the shoulder. These are muscles that can be susceptible to inflammation and injury, especially when you perform improper activities and exercises.
One of the most important things that you can do during shoulder rehabilitation is stretching your shoulder. This is not only something that is excellent to do before exercise, but is also a highly effective treatment for shoulder pain. Many people have the misconception that strength is the most important part of rehab exercises. Strengthening should occur after you regain an adequate amount of mobility. When you do stretching exercises, you can loosen up the muscles around your shoulder which can be effective against stiff shoulders. Stiff shoulders can be caused by frozen shoulder, which can arise if your shoulder is immobilized after injury but can also occur on its own. Shoulder stretching is highly effective in both treating and preventing frozen shoulder. [iii]
A physical therapist can help you learn the right exercises to regain mobility and strength in your shoulders. You should never do anything without the advice of a medical professional, otherwise you will risk causing more damage to your shoulder. The types of exercises that you do in shoulder rehab is very dependent on the ailment that you have. For instance, you won’t use weights for rotator cuff exercises while you may with other conditions.
Shoulder pain can have a significant impact on your everyday life, holding you back from doing the things that you want and need to do. Whenever you have pain in your shoulder that causes some concern, you should always see a doctor. They can diagnose a condition and help you come up with a treatment plan that will help you get relief from your shoulder pain. It is also important to remember that you need to do the right exercises and stretches to prevent getting frozen shoulder. A professional can help you decide on the right exercises and equipment so that you can get back to your daily routine.
Do Rotator Cuff Tears Heal on Their Own?
Rotator cuff tears do not always require surgery. While the pain is immense and surgery seems like the right solution – it is not always needed. Oftentimes, less invasive treatment options are available, including home remedies and physical therapy. However, in the event of a completely torn rotator cuff, surgery may be the only option.
Are you looking for ways to improve shoulder flexibility?
Stretching is a very simple way to improve overall strength and athleticism that is often ignored.