If you watch the arm of a pitcher at a baseball game, you’ll witness how wonderfully the shoulder is made: strong, flexible, powerful. The shoulder joint comprises a team of bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles to perform an incredibly wide range of motion at the arm.
But this motion range and versatility comes at a price. Shoulder pain is a very common problem, especially if we are engaged in sports or if we are in our golden years.
There are many orthopedic conditions that can cause shoulder pain. These conditions range from sports trauma to work injuries, from stress fractures to car-accident injuries.
How to Treat a Sore Shoulder
Based on the severity of your injury or pain, your doctor may recommend that you begin treating a painful shoulder with basic self-care. Below are the main ways to treat an injured shoulder, from the least invasive method to the most invasive:
1. The RICE Method
This is a conservative but proven first line of treatment. It can help you relieve pain, reduce swelling, and promote healing.
RICE is an acronym that means the following:
- Rest. Rest your shoulder, and don’t allow it to make any movements that cause pain. Stop and take a break from any activity that may be causing your pain or soreness.
- Ice. Cold treatments can help lessen pain and swelling. Apply an ice pack or cold compress two or three times a day for about 15 minutes each time.
- Compression. If possible, wrap the sore shoulder area with an elastic bandage (such as an Ace wrap) to create even pressure. Do not wrap too tightly.
- Elevation. Keep your sore shoulder on pillows while applying ice or resting.
2. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
NSAIDs are over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve). This type of medicine helps to relieve pain and to reduce swelling and inflammation caused by injury or disease, such as arthritis.
3. Altering Activities
The majority of patients suffering from shoulder pain tend to respond well to changes in lifestyle. Avoiding activities that may affect your shoulder, or learning safer ways of doing them, can help to reduce pain.
Changes in diet and exercise are also essential elements of this approach. Your doctor or therapist will explain some simple steps that can make a big difference in your pain – for example, eating less sugar and more protein can help relieve arthritis pain.
4. Physical Therapy
Your doctor may recommend that you try physical therapy for your shoulder pain. Many people with shoulder pain find relief through physical therapy.
A professional physical therapist (PT) will show you shoulder-specific stretches and exercises. The therapy may include manual techniques, such as soft-tissue massage, as well as range-of-motion routines.
Some types of shoulder pain can only be treated or managed through surgery. Injuries such as rotator cuff tears often require it.
Shoulder surgery ranges from arthroplasty procedures to minimally invasive treatments to total shoulder replacement surgery. A seasoned orthopedist can help you determine which method would be best to treat your condition.
Orthopedic Doctors in Maryland
Don’t let shoulder pain keep you out of the action! Together with your doctor, you can take care of your pain and get back to your life again.
Our experienced team at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder is focused on bringing you fast and lasting relief. Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons have years of success performing complex orthopedic surgery.
Please call us today at (410) 296-6232 for a consultation, or complete our simple online appointment request form. Today is the day to get on the road to wellness.