We all push our bodies at work and play. Sometimes we don’t realize the limits to our strength and physiology and can extend ourselves too much, resulting in a shoulder injury. We can also sustain this type of injury through an accident or other traumatic event.
Shoulder injuries can be very disabling because it is the area that controls most of our arm movements. The pain is real, whether it is a repetitive strain injury that developed over time or an abrupt impact or movement that tears the muscles, tendons or cartilage, and you want it to go away.
While you should always seek physiotherapy for this type of injury, there are some great home remedies for shoulder pain.
When you have shoulder pain, you shouldn’t have to suffer. You can seek relief by using home remedies for shoulder pain. Here are six best home remedies for shoulder pain relief:
Remedy #1: Cold therapy for shoulder pain
The pain from a shoulder injury can be alleviated using cold therapy. This cooling effect numbs the pain, decreases blood flow, and reduces swelling and inflammation.
As soon as the pain starts, put a cold compress on. This can be an ice pack, frozen veggies or a bag of ice. Make sure not to put it directly on your skin for too long as you could develop frostbite. It’s better to wrap the ice in a towel and apply it five times a day for 15-20 minutes.
Remedy #2: Heat therapy for shoulder pain
If we are using cold therapy, isn’t heat counterproductive? The answer is no because they work to alleviate the same issue differently. Cold works for swelling and numbing pain, while heat gets the oxygen-rich blood flowing.
Heat therapy specifically works by bringing oxygen and nutrients to the shoulder, which speeds up the healing process. Heat is best applied a few days after the pain relaxes the muscles. You can use a heat pack or heating pad right to the injured area for around 15-to 20 minute intervals, and alternating heat and cold is very effective too.
Warm to hot showers give you relief from pain and stiffness, so if you have a hot shower right before bed, it will help you get to sleep. Remember that medium heat is much better than intense heat.
Remedy #3: Massage for shoulder pain
Massage therapy reduces swelling and improves circulation at the same time. You can get help from a family member or do it yourself at home. Use gentle pressure on the sore area and work it for 10 minutes. You can also use a tennis ball in a sock by putting it on the back of the shoulder while up against a wall.
Apply pressure and roll the ball around to give yourself a great massage. It works and will give you relief. Alternatively, you can get a professional massage at a physiotherapy clinic. Be sure to set up regular appointments to ensure benefits in the long term.
Remedy #4: Pain medication for shoulder pain
If your doctor doesn’t give you a prescription for your shoulder or a nagging injury that flares up, you can buy over-the-counter medication to lessen the pain.
Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are very effective and turning down the pain lever, and there are many popular brands to choose from. Be careful not to overdo it because it can cause stomach upset and heartburn.
Topical creams also work very well at decreasing the pain. You can apply them directly to where it hurts for soothing relief without the side effects of pills. Both these types of anti-inflammatory medications work well for shoulder pain.
Remedy #5: Compression for shoulder pain
When you want to reduce the swelling and pain, putting on a compression bandage works wonders. Make sure to wrap it snuggly without restricting blood flow. Your body will let you know if it’s too tight because you will have tingling or numbness in your arm or hand.
Remedy #6: Exercise for shoulder pain
Light duty exercise like walking will get your heart rate up and increase oxygen, but if you are in lots of pain, it’s better to focus your exercise on a shoulder-specific routine.
There are many therapeutic exercises and stretches that you can do to work on shoulder pain. Always start with a gentle warm-up by rolling your shoulders or using a heat pack on the area:
Overhead shoulder stretch exercises
Connect your fingers and raise your arms above your head with your elbows bent. Squeeze the shoulder blades together while moving your elbows back. Try 20 reps five times a day.
Pendulum stretch exercises
Bend at the waist while standing and let the arm on the injured side hang down. Relax your neck, make a side to side or circular movement with your arm for 20 rotations, and reverse the direction for another 20. Repeat this five times a day.
Arm cross chest stretch
This exercise involves you placing your arm out with your wrist near your waist. Take the opposite hand, gently pull the elbow across your chest, and hold for up to 60 seconds. Switch to the other arm and repeat this exercise 5 times a day.
For all these exercises, don’t overdo it and stop immediately if there is increased pain.