Causes of Shoulder Pain and How to Relieve It

The shoulder is one of the most movable and used joints in our body. The rotator cuff has a group of muscles and tendons that gives your shoulder a wide range of motion. However, extensive use or injury to the shoulder can cause swelling, mild to severe shoulder pain, and even permanent damage.

You may experience shoulder pain in a static position while trying to move or lift the shoulder. The pain may also radiate into your neck, head, arms, and back, making it even more agonizing. According to research, shoulder pain affects between 18% and 26% of adults.

If you are suffering from shoulder pain, this post is for you to help understand its causes and how to relieve it.

 

10 Causes of Shoulder Pain

Various physical conditions and external factors can cause mild to acute shoulder pain. However, rotator cuff tendinitis remains the most prevalent cause, a condition that points to swollen tendons. Impingement syndrome is another cause of shoulder pain. Your rotator cuff gets stuck between the acromion (a part of the scapula covering the ball) and the humeral head (humerus' ball portion).

Here are some of the most common causes of shoulder pain.

  • Arthritis in your shoulder joint
  • Bone spurs in your shoulder region
  • Bursitis, i.e., inflammation of the bursa (a fluid-filled sac) protecting your shoulder joint and helping the smooth movement
  • Dislocation of your shoulder joint
  • Shoulder separation
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Injury or overuse of a tendon
  • Tearing your rotator cuff tendons
  • Poor shoulder posture
  • Broken shoulder bone

Sometimes, shoulder pain can be the result of a problem in other areas such as the lungs or neck. This is known as referred pain. In this case, you will feel the shoulder pain in the resting position, and using your shoulder will not affect or worsen its intensity.

 

7 Treatments of Shoulder Pain

The treatment of shoulder pain depends on the cause and severity of the shoulder pain. Some treatment physical treatment, while others may require posture correction remedies. So, let us have a quick look at all possible treatment options to relieve your shoulder pain.

Anti-Inflammatory Medicine

Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to lower inflammation and relieve shoulder pain. You can also get other painkillers such as ibuprofen or aspirin over the counter to reduce mild shoulder pain.

Cold Compress

This is a remedy that reduces swelling in your shoulder. Cooling can help numb sharp shoulder pain. So, you can apply an ice pack on the shoulder for 20 minutes approximately and repeat this 5 times a day. Use a frozen gel pack, plastic bag of ice cubes, or a packet of frozen peas. Do not apply the cold pack directly on the shoulder; wrap it in a towel instead.

Heat Therapy

Heat to your shoulder's tense muscles can soothe the stiffness and help with muscular pain. You can use a heating pad, a hot water bottle, or a heated gel pack for this purpose.

Compression

Warp an elastic medical bandage around your shoulder as this can reduce both shoulder pain and swelling. You can use a regular ACE bandage or a cold compression bandage or buy a shoulder wrap from your local pharmacy.

Wrap it up around your shoulder snuggly and not too tight. This will ensure that you do not block the blood flow to the shoulder.

Activity and Rest Modification

If you are constantly experiencing shoulder pain, it is time to change or stop any activity causing it. This will allow your shoulder muscles to relax, recover to gain strength and flexibility.

Correcting Your Sleeping Posture

Yes, you read it right – an incorrect sleeping posture, head, neck, and shoulder position can certainly result in shoulder pain. Continue to sleep in an inappropriate posture may result in mild discomfort to severe, long-lasting effects on your shoulder joint. The more pressure you put on your shoulder during sleep, the more prone it is to inflammation and structural damage.

According to Sleep Foundation, a wrong pillow can cause and aggravate your shoulder pain. This is due to inadequate support to your head and neck, making you feel more shoulder pain as the weight falls on the affected area.

So, do not forget to invest in a good quality pillow. This will not only help you relieve shoulder pain but also improve your wellbeing due to decent sleep. A wide range of pillows is available in the market, such as Kanuda, an orthopedic pillow using innovative technology to support your head, neck, and spine while you sleep.

Kanuda uses a combination of craniosacral therapy techniques and ergonomic engineering to relieve the muscle tension around your neck and head while giving you a well-balanced posture. This, in turn, keeps your shoulder joints in a more relaxed position and prevents any shoulder pain.

Exercising Can Help

You can incorporate certain stretches and exercises into your daily routine to make your shoulder muscles and tendons stronger and flexible. However, remember the following tips before you start swinging your shoulder for stretches and workouts.

  • Watch your body form as you exercise. Failing to maintain correct posture will cause or worsen shoulder pain.
  • You must stop any exercise in case you feel shoulder pain. It can be due to an injury or other conditions. Therefore, speak to your doctor first.
  • You must do warm-up stretches before diving into the deep end of exercising. This gives your shoulder enough time to warm up and expect some well-needed workouts to build strength. You can do gentle shoulder movements, light shoulder rolls, etc.

Another way to warm up your muscles before exercise is to take a warm shower. Pendulum Stretch and Overhead shoulder stretch are some of the best exercises to relieve shoulder pain. However, do not try the exercises on your own and speak to a physiotherapist or occupational therapist about exercises to help relieve shoulder pain.

 

Bottom Line

Mild shoulder pain is not something you must ignore because leaving it unattended can lead to permanent and long-term damage. It will not only affect your range of motion but also affect your quality of life and sleep. Therefore, try any or all of the above-mentioned remedies to relieve shoulder pain.

 

 

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Written by Sungman Chang

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