Shoulder pain is a common complaint among people of all ages. Both young and old experience shoulder pain at some point after a strenuous exercise routine, carrying a heavy load, or an illness. There are many possible causes of shoulder pain. Here are some ways to help you manage it:
See Your Doctor
First of all, if you do not know the cause of shoulder pain, it is best to get checked by a medical professional. Shoulder pain treatment will depend on the root of the problem. For example, if you accidentally sustained a sprain while playing contact sports, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the pain.
If the pain is unbearable and has negatively affected your life, you should see a doctor and seek treatment. If you cannot raise your arms, carry light or heavy objects, or cannot use your arms to do simple chores, you should get your shoulders checked. If the pain is accompanied by more serious symptoms like a fever, skin redness and warmth, or trouble breathing, you may need immediate medical attention.
Heat and Ice Application
At home, applying ice packs is the easiest way to reduce swelling and alleviate pain. It is often done to minimize the onset of inflammation caused by overuse or overexertion. For example, lifting a heavy load or exercising too frequently may lead to rotator cuff injuries.
On the other hand, heat pads are used to relax stiff muscles and, therefore, reduce pain. The method works by increasing the circulation and flow of blood in the affected area which helps heal damaged tissue. A warm bath, that lasts between 30 minutes to two hours, can also alleviate pain.
You may also try to manage the pain and go about your daily routine by taking medication. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) can treat shoulder pain caused by arthritis, bursitis, and tendonitis. Ibuprofen, a common NSAID, is over-the-counter. NSAIDs that are applied to the skin over the affected area are just as effective. However, others you will need a prescription from your doctor to access.
Warning: You should not take NSAIDs for more than a few days. Read the label. Misuse of NSAIDs may cause stomach upset, bleeding problems, cardiovascular problems, and liver and kidney damage. If pain persists for more than a few days, consult your doctor,
A steroid injection may also be used to alleviate the pain. Your doctor may suggest that you get a shot of cortisone, a steroid that prevents the release of the substances that causes inflammation. This injection will not only treat pain but also allow you to immediately go back to your daily routine.
Often, shoulder pain is your body’s way of telling you that, every once in a while, you need to take a break and rest. Allowing your body to rest in between vigorous physical activity will allow your muscles to recuperate on their own and without the need for medical intervention.
As soon as you experience discomfort or pain, rest the affected area for a few minutes.
Shoulder pain is common, but it can be prevented by following precautions while exercising or playing sports and by avoiding lifting heavy objects. If the cause of the pain is not immediately obvious, consult your doctor to rule out a more serious ailment.