Managing Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can be a major source of discomfort for many people. Whether it’s caused by an injury, overuse, or simply sleeping in the wrong position, shoulder pain can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks. Fortunately, you can usually do things to ease shoulder pain yourself.1

The most common cause of shoulder pain occurs when rotator cuff tendons become trapped under the bony area in the shoulder.2 This causes the tendons to become inflamed or damaged and is known as rotator cuff tendinitis or bursitis.2 Other causes of shoulder pain include arthritis, frozen shoulder and poor posture.2

So, what can be done to manage the pain?

Managing shoulder pain | Flarin

Stay active for shoulder pain | Flarin

Often, our first instinct when in pain is to rest, but once the initial pain and inflammation have subsided, it’s important to begin a program of stretching and strengthening exercises. Gently moving your shoulder and doing shoulder exercises for 6 to 8 weeks can help reduce pain and stop it from returning.1 Exercises such as arm lifts, shoulder circles and door presses are recommended to help ease the pain.3 Your GP can recommend a program of exercises that are tailored to your specific needs.

TOP TIP: Try practicing the arm lift. Place hands behind your head and point elbows out to sides, pressed back as far as you can. Hold for five seconds. Then, place your hands behind your back, elbows pointing out and pressed back as far as you can and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat each movement five times.3

Shoulder stretch for shoulder pain | Flarin
Pain relief for shoulder pain | Flarin

Using painkillers and hot and cold therapy are great methods of pain relief. Try applying an ice pack to your shoulder for about 20 minutes every few hours to reduce pain and inflammation; using a covered hot water bottle or heat pack can relieve tight or sore muscles6. Over-the-counter pain medications are also helpful in managing mild to moderate shoulder pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.2 Make sure you consult your GP before using new medications.

Physiotherapy for shoulder pain | Flarin

If your shoulder pain is persistent, your GP may recommend physiotherapy. The number of physiotherapy sessions you may have depends on the cause of your shoulder pain.1 Physiotherapy for shoulder pain will usually involve soft tissue massage and joint mobilisations to help improve muscle tightness and joint stiffness.5 In cases where the symptoms do not resolve, your doctor may suggest a corticosteroid injection to help reduce the inflammation and provide pain relief.5