Shoulder pain is one of the most common causes of discomfort in adults. We use our shoulders to do many of our everyday activities from holding a hair dryer to reaching up to put something away. Whether you have stiffness, weakness, or soreness, shoulder pain can interfere with your daily routine.
Continue reading to find out common causes and tips to reduce pain.
6 Tips to Reduce Shoulder Pain
Shoulder pain can interfere with work, sports, and everyday activities. In many cases, resting the shoulder along with home treatment can ease discomfort. Consider some of the following tips:
#1) Get an Accurate Diagnosis:
If shoulder pain lasts more than a week or is severe, it’s best to see your doctor. Trying to figure out what is causing the pain yourself with the help of a Google search, is not your best bet. A proper diagnosis allows for the most appropriate treatment.
#2) Change Activities:
Shoulder pain due to repetitive motions may require a little change in your activities. For example, if playing tennis causes shoulder pain, you may have to temporarily stop playing and allow your shoulder to rest. Avoiding overdoing certain activities is a good first step to decrease shoulder pain.
#3) Apply Cold Packs:
Applying an ice pack to the affected shoulder can decrease pain and inflammation. The ice numbs the area and also causes the blood vessels to constrict, which can decrease swelling. You should apply ice for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time about four to six times a day. Using ice is especially helpful the first three days after injuring the shoulder.
#4) Perform Stretches:
Several types of stretches can help decrease shoulder pain. It’s always advisable to talk with your doctor to determine what stretches you should do. In general, it’s helpful to target the deltoids, which are the front, side, and back of the shoulders. One great stretch is called the crossover arm stretch. It is performed by slowly pulling one arm across the chest and holding the upper arm. Aim to hold each stretch for at least 20 seconds.
In addition to stretches, strengthening the muscles around the shoulder joint may also help. But it’s essential to allow an acute shoulder injury to heal before doing certain exercises.
#5) Use a Topical Pain Reliever:
Topical creams, sprays, and ointments can also be a great way to reduce shoulder pain. Topical medications are applied directly to the shoulder to decrease pain. One of the advantages of using a topical medication is it reduces pain without unwanted side effects that pain pills can have. When choosing a topical medication, check the label for natural ingredients, such as menthol, turmeric, and capsicum.
#6) Be Cautious When Using Pain Medication:
There may be instances when your doctor prescribes pain medications. But use pain pills with caution. Pain medication has side effects including sleepiness, nausea, and constipation. Painkillers can also lead to dependency. Even over the counter pain medications should not be taken for more than a few days.
Common Causes of Shoulder Pain
The rotator cuff is the made up of tendons and muscles, which stabilize the shoulder and allow you to rotate and raise your arm. Unfortunately, the rotator cuff is a common site of injury. Injuries of the rotator cuff may include:
Bursitis is a common cause of shoulder pain in adults. The shoulder joint contains fluid-filled sacs called bursae. The bursae cushion the joint and decrease friction between the bone and muscle. Shoulder bursitis involves inflammation of the bursae.
The inflammation causes swelling, which means there is less space in the shoulder for the tendons and muscle to move and range of motion can be affected. Bursitis can develop due to excessive use of the shoulder.
Symptoms of shoulder bursitis include pain around the outside of the shoulder, decreased range of motion, and pain when the shoulder is touched.
Tendons connect the muscles to the bones. When the tendons in the shoulder become inflamed, the condition is called shoulder tendonitis or rotator cuff tendonitis. Tendonitis can be acute or chronic. Acute shoulder tendonitis can develop due to a sudden injury to the tendon. The condition can also become chronic due to repetitive wear and tear of the tendon. Symptoms of rotator cuff tendonitis include pain on the top of the shoulder and trouble raising the arm overhead.
Arthritis can also cause shoulder pain. There are different types of arthritis including osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of the disease. Osteoarthritis in the shoulder often occurs due to wear and tear of the joint over time. Pain usually starts out mild and progressively gets worse. Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the shoulder include pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion.
Shoulder pain is a common complaint with a variety of causes. A natural approach to reducing shoulder pain is often an excellent place to start. Treatment including rest, ice, and stretches is usually helpful to improve functioning and decrease pain.
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