Shoulder pain is a common complaint. Around 67% of people will experience it at least once throughout their lives. Our shoulder is the most flexible joint we have, making it vulnerable to all sorts of pains. If you cannot move your arm normally, most likely you’re experiencing some sort of shoulder pain. Shoulder pain can range mild stiffness to more severe cases such as a dislocated shoulder that needs medical intervention. It’s good to know that you can treat yourself as long as long as it’s not an extreme injury.
Here are 6 things you can do to get more comfortable and ease the pain.
That might seem obvious, but most people don’t give rest enough time. Rest doesn’t mean to stay in bed, but rather to rest from any activity that seems to progress the pain. So if you enjoy throwing a ball around, but feel it’s causing more strain on the shoulder, refrain from throwing it for a couple of weeks, but don’t eliminate shoulder movement altogether as that will get it stiff.
Ice packs are recommended. You should do it about 5 times a day, each time for 20 minutes. This helps reduce any swelling and can do so within 48 hours after an injury. Always wrap an ice pack in a towel and don’t apply it directly to your skin. If you can get ice on the shoulder shortly after a shoulder injury, it will work better.
It might seem confusing if you don’t know whether to use ice or heat. Ice helps swelling and reduces sharp pains. Heat therapy is used most often for chronic conditions because it relaxes tight sore muscles. It’s good to use heat therapy before sleeping. You can purchase heat gels or lotions to apply locally.
4. Change sleep position
Clearly, you don’t want to sleep in a position that accelerates the pain. So change the position to sleep on your back or another position away from the pain. Sometimes, people who have chronic shoulder pain might want to change the mattress they sleep on. As you get older, sleeping on a suitable mattress becomes more important. The right mattress can help ease shoulder pain as mattresses that are either too hard or too soft or too lumpy can cause more pain.
5. Stretching and exercise
While you should refrain from doing intense exercise that involves the shoulder, you still need to keep moving. There are other types of stretching exercises that will help relieve pain. Get off the computer and shake your arms and shoulders every 20 minutes, for example.
6. Pain relievers
It’s common to take over-the-counter pain relievers which will help but don’t overdo it since they can cause side-effects after prolonged use. It’s best to check with your doctor first.
In so many cases, these tips might be all you need to get the shoulder better again. But give it some time because conservative treatments don’t usually work overnight. But they will help during a recovery period. If you’re not better within 2 weeks, then seek the help of a professional doctor.