If you’ve ever experienced shoulder pain, then you know how disruptive it can be to your life. Simple tasks like lifting your arms or carrying groceries become unbearable, and even going to work poses a challenge. Your doctor can easily prescribe treatment to provide immediate pain relief, but what do you do until your next appointment?
Here are some simple ways to relieve shoulder pain in between doctor’s visits.
Apply heat to a painful shoulder to get almost immediate relief. Heat works well because it reduces muscle tension and promotes relaxation. Heat also increases blood flow, which delivers nutrients to the affected area. Be careful not to warm the area too much, as you don’t want to burn the skin. Leave the pad on the affected area for intervals of 15-30 minutes, followed by a short period of rest. Apply it to the shoulder when needed.
A light massage can work wonders for a painful shoulder, particularly when there’s an injury to the muscles or tendons. Massages work because they improve blood circulation and reduce stiffness and swelling. You don’t need a professional to administer the massage, as a gentle squeeze applied with medium pressure is enough to experience relief. Do this as often as necessary.
Just like a heating pad, a cold compress can also provide pain relief to a painful shoulder. If you have an ice pack, wrap it in a towel and apply it to the area. Crushed ice can also be wrapped in a towel or ziplock bag if an ice pack is not available. The cold works to numb the pain and also reduces inflammation. Leave the compress on the shoulder for roughly 10-15 minutes at a time. You can do this throughout the day for maximum pain relief.
Change Your Sleeping Position
In addition to seeking relief in the daytime, people who suffer from shoulder pain also need night time relief. This is where it’s crucial to change the position that you sleep in if you’re naturally prone to laying on your shoulders. Use extra pillows to provide neck and shoulder support, or sleep on the opposite side of the affected area. Leaning on the back of the shoulder (shoulder blade) and avoiding lying on the side of the shoulder may offer relief.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medicines can help to reduce shoulder pain. Ibuprofen (400-800mg) and Tylenol (325-500mg) would be the best options, with Ibuprofen being the first choice if you’re able to take it. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory medicine that is often used to treat the inflammation of the joints. You should give your physician’s office a call to determine which is better for you, especially if you are taking other medications.
You may not experience full pain relief, but these simple tips can help you cope with shoulder pain until you’re able to make it to the doctor’s office. All of these methods can be used as often as needed, and do not require much medical oversight.
If you’re experiencing shoulder pain due to a muscular injury, arthritis, or some other condition, contact us to learn about our permanent solutions for your shoulder pain at (760) 909-2355.