5 Easy Ways to Deal with Shoulder Pain
A person’s shoulder consists of three bones: the upper arm bone, the shoulder blade, and the collarbone, which together with tendons and muscles allow for movement of the arm. All the joints working in tandem allow a person to perform actions ranging from the basic to complex, like feeding themselves or throwing a shot put with force. Soreness and stiffness in the shoulder may happen for various reasons, leading to discomfort, pain, and a limitation of movement that can seriously affect a person’s quality of life.
Shoulder pain is a common joint problem that can be caused when there is impingement of the bony structure or soft tissue that makes up the shoulder. Shoulder pain may include issues regarding a person’s muscles, cartilage, ligaments, nerves, tendons, shoulder blade, neck, arm, or hand. The current lifestyle, posture, and work habits have also led to an increase in the number of people who complain of shoulder pain, and treating it at the earliest is important. The nature of shoulder pain may differ in its intensity, and can be noticeable all the time or only when the shoulder is moving. There are several shoulder pain remedies and easy ways of dealing with this pain, failing which, one must consult an orthopaedic doctor for shoulder pain.
Common causes of shoulder pain
Shoulder pain is a common issue that generally affects people at some or other stage of life. Some of the common conditions that may lead to shoulder pain are:
- Frozen shoulder
- Muscle strain
- Rotator cuff injury
Easy shoulder pain remedies
There are some easy shoulder pain remedies that can be done at home and may help relieve shoulder pain. These remedies help soothe inflammation and strengthen the muscles, which not only leads to the alleviation of pain but can also help prevent further injury.
- Pain medication: There are certain anti-inflammatory medications that are available over-the-counter (i.e., without a doctor’s prescription) and can help with pain management and reduce inflammation. Medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen are generally found in every person’s home medical kit and can be effective in dealing with pain due to tendonitis, arthritis or other shoulder injuries. There are several topical pain relief gels and creams that can also be applied locally on the affected part for pain relief. Muscle relaxant medicines help in dealing with muscle tension and spasms in the muscle joints and are generally prescribed by the doctor. They help the muscles relax and ease the spasm, but may cause drowsiness.
- Cold compress: A cold compress is a frozen or really cold substance like an ice pack, frozen gel pack, wet cloth or ice wrapped in a cloth or packet. Applying a cold compress reduces swelling in the shoulder and provides relief by numbing the pain. This shoulder pain remedy is used when there is inflammation in the shoulder area and can be easily executed. There are commercial as well as homemade solutions that make an effective cold compress, even items such as frozen food packets.
- Heat therapy: Heat can be used to alleviate shoulder pain especially in cases of muscle pain or arthritis in the shoulder. General soreness and muscle aches can also be treated as heat helps the tense muscles to relax and eases stiffness. Heat therapy can be provided by various methods like using a heated gel pack, electric heating pad, hot water bottle or using a warm towel dipped after dipping it in hot water.
- Compression: Using compression is an easy way to help reduce swelling and pain in the shoulder. This can be done by wrapping an elastic medical bandage like a crepe bandage around the shoulder, making sure it is snug but not very tight. Pharmacies may also offer shoulder wraps or cold compress bandages for the same purpose, and care should be taken that they are wrapped tight enough to provide compression and not block blood flow. It is advisable to keep a spare crepe bandage in your home medical kit for dealing with sudden muscle injuries or pain.
- Shoulder exercises: Stretching and doing regular shoulder exercises help strengthen the shoulder muscles and ease pain. It is imperative that these exercises and stretches are done correctly so as not to worsen the shoulder problem. When you see an orthopedic doctor for shoulder pain, they might suggest exercises and an ideal number of repetitions that will help deal with shoulder pain in an easy manner from the comfort of your home. These gentle exercises must be started after adequate warm-up and stopped immediately if the pain starts to get worse. Some of the following exercises are good for pain relief and making shoulder muscles flexible and strong:
- Pendulum stretch
- Overhead shoulder stretch
- Across-the-chest stretch
- Neck release
- Chest expansion
- Shoulder circles
- Downward dog pose
- Child’s pose
- Seated twist
Shoulder pain can sometimes come and go, causing temporary discomfort or becoming a permanent part of one’s life due to an injury, medical condition, or routine lifestyle hazards. There are many simple steps that can be taken to alleviate discomfort and strengthen the shoulder to guard against future injury or pain. Practicing simple tips like stopping or changing an activity that is causing shoulder pain, improving one’s posture, or sleeping correctly can help avoid or reduce shoulder pain. There are simple home remedies and exercises that help soothe pain and can be combined with medication and advice from an orthopaedic doctor for shoulder pain treatment.