Shoulder pain is a common problem and there are many causes for the affliction that include aging, overuse, strain and trauma. After an injury it is not uncommon for healing to require four to eight weeks. If an individual does not apply or receive the appropriate shoulder pain treatment, the condition might worsen. There are a variety of options that might prove helpful for minor irritations. If symptoms or discomfort does not diminish or the condition worsens in a couple of weeks, medical intervention is needed.
For any degree of shoulder pain, resting the joint for a few days encourages the inflammation to diminish. Nevertheless, be aware that prolonged inactivity may lead to immobilization from a frozen shoulder joint. Unless experiencing pain with arm movement, during the resting period, try moving the arm back and forth gently in various directions to prevent complete joint immobilization.
Ice or Heat Applications
Following a recent injury, ice applications are commonly recommended during the first 48 hours to reduce discomfort, inflammation and swelling. Ice is also helpful for certain chronic conditions that might include athletic injuries that occur from overusing the joint.
Heat packs are helpful after an overuse injury or when certain chronic conditions cause connective tissue and muscle tightening. However, avoid using heat immediately following an injury. Whether using heat or ice, the application should only be applied for no longer than 20 minutes at one time in order to prevent skin and tissue damage.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
OTC or prescription NSAID formulations often help someone suffering from arthritis, bursitis or tendonitis. In addition to alleviating discomfort, the medications work to reduce inflammation and swelling.
After applying heat, gentle stretching for no more than 20 minutes helps loosen tissues that surround the joint. Remember to warm-up and stretch prior to engaging in activities to prevent injuries.
If the problem does not require surgery, the techniques used by massage therapists may help promote healing and improve mobility. Massage can effectively relieve connective tissue and muscle stress while preventing further trauma. Some of the methods used include targeting trigger points to reduce pain and gentle stretching. Various forms of massage affect tissues deep within the shoulder to loosen tightness, increase range of motion and improve circulation.
A therapist working in conjunction with a physician has the knowledge and experience needed to apply the appropriate shoulder pain treatment. After assessing the problem, therapists may apply heat in the form of compresses, low-light laser or ultrasound. The methods of heat application penetrate deeply and encourage tissue relaxation before a therapist performs manual techniques. Additionally, specially designed exercises strengthen particular muscles and improve overall joint stability while enhancing blood circulation to the affected area.
Typically administered when a patient suffers from a chronic condition, cortisone injected directly into the joint often offers immediate relief for longer periods of time.
The ball-and-socket that forms the shoulder is complex and makes the joint one of the most mobile in the body. Injuries might occur during athletic activity, when performing manual labor or from any type of repetitive movement. If the pain is accompanied by a fever, immobility of the joint, prolonged bruising, joint heat and tenderness or discomfort that lasts more than two or three weeks, consult with a physician.