Shoulder Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Home Remedies
Shoulder is a complex ball and socket joint that can move in multiple directions. It is the most movable part of the body. With this great strength comes a lack of stability. The lack of stability in the shoulder makes it prone to injury and pain. Shoulder pain is a physical discomfort in the shoulder which includes the joint itself or the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the joint. It is protected by a rotator cuff.
What is a rotator cuff & how to recognize a rotator cuff injury?
A rotator cuff protects the shoulder joint and helps in the movement of arms over your head. If the rotator cuff is inflamed, the pain usually occurs in front part or outside the shoulder. This pain is usually more severe when you raise your hand or lift something above your head. The pain can be severe enough to prevent you from completing even the simplest of tasks. Pain at night is common and can be bad enough to wake you up. It can also get worse lying down or on one side.
Causes of Shoulder pain
- Poor postureWhen you perform a rounded shoulder stand or any poor posture, the shoulder joint is placed in a position that allows compression of the bursa, muscles, and tendons in the shoulder. It causes shoulder pain.
- TraumaTrauma can cause shoulder pain. Outstretched arms or sides, falling from a two-wheeled vehicle, sudden movements while trying to avoid a fall, all of these can cause sudden injury and fracture or injure the ligaments of the shoulder. It can also cause shoulder dislocation, leading to shoulder pain.
- Aging or Natural DegenerationA common degenerative disease is rotator cuff degenerative disease. Arthritis is a degenerative disease that causes inflammation in one of the joints in the body. It occurs most often in the weight-bearing joints of the body, such as the hips and knees. Sometimes inflammation of the shoulder joint can occur, causing severe pain and limitation of movement.
- Repetitive overhead activityAs you reach overhead, the distance between the shoulder tendons and the shoulder blades decreases. The tendon can then be clamped under the shoulder blade. This pinching, often referred to as impingement syndrome, can be painful.
- Medical illnessDiseases such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral neuropathy have more diseases of the shoulder joint.
- OsteoarthritisThis is the most common form of arthritis. It can affect any joint, including your shoulders. The cartilage between bones breaks down, and rubs against each other. This can cause pain and stiffness in the shoulder.
- Heart attackIn case of a heart attack, the supply of blood to the muscles of the heart is blocked which results in severe chest pain that can spread into the shoulders, neck and back too. If your shoulder hurts and you have difficulty in breathing or experience chest tightness, you may need immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of Shoulder pain
- A little pain occurs while moving the shoulder which reduces the movement.
- A feeling may arise that the joint is slipping backwards into the socket or that the shoulder is actually dislocated (displaced).
- Lack of movement after shoulder dislocation.
Treatment for Shoulder pain
- Anti-inflammatory medicationsMedicines include Advil (for ibuprofen) and Aleve (for naproxen). Both are prescribed by a doctor and are relatively safe to use according to the label.
- Apply heat to your shoulderYou can take a gentle hot shower to reduce shoulder pain for about 5 to 10 minutes. Often patients experience shoulder pain due to sleep. A good hot shower can certainly help with this pain or you can use an electric heating pad. If using an electric heating pad, set it to medium heat, not high heat.
- Apply ice to your shoulderIce massage is good for treating shoulder pain. For this, Use an ice pack as ice should not be in direct contact with the skin for more than 5 minutes because of the real possibility of frostbite.
- Salt bathRock salt is effective for shoulder pain or any pain or discomfort in the body. Therefore, fill a bathtub with warm water and add rock salt to it. Taking a bath with this helps to relieve shoulder pain.
- MassageA regular massage to your shoulder and by doing some shoulder exercises might help in reducing the pain.
Home remedies for Shoulder pain
- Rosemary and Clove oilBoil rosemary and clove oil in a saucepan for two minutes. Remove from the stove and let it rest. Dip a cotton flake, in this mixture, place it on your shoulder and wrap the area well with a bandage. Leave it overnight to relieve shoulder pain.
- Lemon and HoneyMix lemon and honey until you get a hard and homogeneous mixture. Take it on an empty stomach every day until you see improvement.
- Menthol creamMassaging the shoulder with menthol cream or ointment will surely help in relieving pain and discomfort.
How to prevent shoulder pain?
- Some shoulder exercises can help stretch rotator cuff muscles and tendons. A physical therapist or occupational therapist can show you how to do it right.
- If you've had shoulder problems in the past, apply ice for 15 minutes after your workout to prevent future injuries.
- Once you have bursitis or tendinitis, doing a simple range of motion exercises every day can prevent your shoulder from freezing.
Exercises for Shoulder pain
Regular exercise and stretching can make your shoulders strong and flexible:
- Stand up and bend at the waist.
- Let your arm hang straight down on the injured side.
- Keep your neck relaxed.
- Wave your arms in a circle up to 20 times.
- Do this 5 to 10 times a day.
Overhead shoulder stretch
- Sit or stand for this shoulder extension.
- Bend your elbows and raise your arms above your head. You can also place your hands above or behind your head.
- Gently bend your shoulder blades to move your elbows back.
- Continue up to 20 repetitions. Practice it 5 to 10 times a day.
Upper body strengthening
- As pain reduces, try to lift weight machines or free weights.
- Lie on your right side with your left hand on your side.
- With the weight on the left arm and the forearm across the stomach, lift the forearm up.
- Keep your elbow near your side.
When to see a doctor?
Unless you have a serious injury or the pain is sudden and persistent, you can usually treat shoulder pain without seeing a doctor. If after two weeks of self-medication you feel that the pain is not improving, you should see a doctor or physical therapist.