James Top Tips for Shoulder Pain
If you are currently suffering from or have ever had any shoulder pain before you will know how debilitating it can be and how much it can affect your everyday life.
Although there are several causes of shoulder pain, there are some simple tips to help you manage your pain.
Before I get into my top tips, I will preface this by saying that any pain that is affecting your quality of life, or that is limiting your ability to perform everyday tasks needs to be investigated. Sometimes these things have a relatively simple and non-invasive solution, while other times it may be more complicated and require further investigation and imaging.
As chiropractors we are able to help with a wide variety of musculoskeletal complaints and conditions, if you would like to read about other conditions that a chiropractor can treat or learn more about a condition that you think we can help with, check out our blog homepage.
As a chiropractor here in Eastbourne, I find that shoulder pain is one of the most prevalent problems that people present with. Often the pain is really alarming and difficult to escape from. Here are my top tips to help you manage your shoulder pain:
Tried and trusted and proven to be tremendously effective the RICE method is often the first port of call for pain relief and injury, especially in the acute phase of an injury or very soon after the injury has occurred.
RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Rest your shoulder as best you can and avoid aggravating movements.
Ice the shoulder. Ice is an incredible anti-inflammatory and has minimal side effects. It is very important, however, to follow some simple rules when icing: Never apply ice directly to the skin and rather wrap it in a tea towel or other cloth and/or apply over clothes. Also, never ice for more than 10 minutes at a time. These things may cause ice burn which can be more painful than heat burn. You can ice up to once an hour.
Compression of the shoulder is slightly difficult but could be applied as pressure while icing or an elasticated bandage wrapped around the shoulder to reduce inflammation. Elevation of the shoulder is easy; this does not mean that you need to lift your arm over your head or anything like that. As long as you are sitting upright, the shoulder is elevated above the level of the heart and this can help reduce inflammation.
In some cases, the RICE method may not offer the relief that you are hoping for. This is usually the case for longer standing problems or shoulder pain that develops very gradually over time. If this is the case, heat therapy may be beneficial for you.
This involves using a heating pad, hot water bottle, heat pack or even just a hot shower or bath making sure to target the affected area of pain. You can apply heat to the area for 20 minutes at a time up to once an hour. This helps to increase blood flow which, in turn, helps to ease muscle spasm. Some people may even find it beneficial to alternate heat and ice at one-hour intervals.
Try a simple pendulum stretch
This is a very easy stretch to do and offers little extra strain to the shoulder and can be very helpful with helping to shift some of the inflammation.
Simply bend forward at the waist and hand the affected arm down towards the ground so that it is ‘hanging’. You may way to use the other hand to steady yourself by holding onto a stable surface. Now swing the affected arm around in gentle circles in one direction and then the other about 20 times in total. If this movement is totally pain free, try holding a very small weight in the hand such as a can of baked beans or something else that weighs less than a kilogram.
I use this exercise a lot with my chiropractic patients.
Avoid taking medications such as anti-inflammatories and pain killers as much as possible.
This may seem counter productive but try to avoid these medications as much as is reasonable. These often mask the symptoms and reduce your pain threshold which can lead to further injury as you overuse an already injured joint. This does not mean that you cannot use these types of medications at all, please do not think that! Just try to limit the amount that you use them to help avoid further stress to the joint.
While some of these tips might help you immensely it is important to get your shoulder checked out if it is causing you any pain.
If you are interested in seeing a chiropractor here in Eastbourne, check out our website for more information.
Want to find out more about Shoulder pain and the rotator cuff?
If you’ve enjoyed this blog and want to find out more about shoulder pain and the rotator cuff, then please check out one of our other blogs on the shoulder joint below.
By James Revell
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