Do you suffer from shoulder pain? You’re not alone. Shoulder pain affects many people and can make activities as simple as brushing your hair or reaching for something in the back of the fridge difficult to do. But there is hope – various treatments exist that might alleviate this discomfort and help you get back to functioning normally again.
Read on to learn about the causes of shoulder pain and look at possible treatment options to make an informed decision about getting your shoulders feeling better fast. Whether you suffer from ongoing aches or have had a recent injury, there is something here for everyone!
What is Shoulder Pain?
Shoulder pain can range from a dull ache to sharp, stabbing sensations. It can present itself in several different forms – general chronic discomfort, inflammation of the joint due to overuse or arthritis, trauma due to an injury or accident, and nerve problems like rotator cuff damage. Regardless of the underlying cause, shoulder pain needs to be taken seriously and addressed by your healthcare provider.
What causes Shoulder Pain?
One of the most common causes of shoulder pain is an injury, such as a rotator cuff tear or strain. The rotator cuff comprises four muscles that attach around the shoulder blade and stabilize the humerus (upper arm bone) into its socket (the glenoid). These muscles often weaken with age due to wear and tear from daily activities such as lifting objects overhead or reaching behind your back—especially if those activities are done repetitively or with excessive force over time.
A rotator cuff tear can cause severe shoulder pain along with difficulty moving your arm without feeling additional discomfort or weakness in your shoulder joint. Other common causes of shoulder pain include dislocations, bursitis, tendinitis, and frozen shoulder syndrome.
In some cases, underlying medical conditions can also lead to shoulder pain. Arthritis is one example; while it primarily affects the joints in your knees and hands, it can also cause inflammation in the shoulders, leading to chronic discomfort and stiffness.
Other conditions, such as fibromyalgia and Lyme disease, can also cause swelling in your shoulders, leading to deep aches and pains throughout your body. If you experience persistent shoulder pain that doesn’t seem to go away with rest or massage therapy, consider visiting a doctor for further evaluation and treatment options.
Poor posture can also cause shoulder pain. This occurs when you maintain an awkward position for too long or when your muscles become overly strained from slouching or hunching over your work.
If you have poor posture, tension in your shoulder joints may lead to chronic pain over time. To prevent this type of shoulder pain, sit up straight and use ergonomic furniture whenever possible.
How can Shoulder Pain be Treated?
- Rest: One of the most important treatments for shoulder pain is getting plenty of rest. This means avoiding activities involving repetitive arm and shoulder motions, such as sports or housework. You should also try to sleep in a position that supports your neck and shoulders to keep them from becoming strained.
- Ice/Heat Therapy: Applying ice or heat to the affected area can help reduce inflammation, relax muscles, and soothe the pain. If your shoulder pain is due to an injury, applying a cold pack for 20 minutes several times a day can help reduce swelling and discomfort. For chronic shoulder pain, trying alternating between hot (for example, warm showers) and cold (for example, ice packs) therapy can help provide relief.
- Supportive Devices: Keeping your shoulder properly supported is important to reduce pain. A brace, sling, or another supportive device can be effective at helping you maintain good posture while also providing stability for the joint. These devices should be worn as recommended by your healthcare provider.
- Medication: If the pain persists, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce the discomfort. For more severe cases of shoulder pain, prescription-strength medications may be necessary to provide relief from inflammation and stiffness.
- Physical Therapy: Working with a physical therapist can help you strengthen your shoulder muscles and improve range of motion. A physical therapist can also develop a personalized stretching and strengthening program to help alleviate pain and restore full function over time.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be recommended to repair any damage caused by a rotator cuff tear or another injury. While this option should be a last resort, it may be the only way to fully restore shoulder function in certain circumstances.
What to expect after treatment?
Once you have received the appropriate treatment for your shoulder pain, you can expect to experience a gradual reduction in discomfort and improved joint mobility. In most cases, it takes time and patience to rehabilitate the shoulder joint completely.
Make sure to discuss any concerns or questions with your healthcare provider. With the right combination of self-care measures, medical treatments, and physical therapy, you can expect to find significant relief from shoulder pain.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
If you’re dealing with shoulder pain, the treatments we’ve discussed may be able to help. However, if you’re unsure about what’s causing your shoulder pain or which treatment is right, it’s best to consult a doctor or physical therapist.
Our team at Southern Pain can help you get to the bottom of your shoulder pain and devise a treatment plan that will work for you. To get started, fill out the form below, and one of our representatives will be in touch soon.