6 Ways to Soothe Discomfort From a Shoulder Injury
Shoulder pain can range from mild to severe discomfort, depending on the cause. If you’ve suffered an injury, ignoring the pain will not only make things harder for you — it could also lead to more complications down the line. Therefore, it’s vital to take care of yourself and find out how to soothe a shoulder injury.
The Symptoms of a Shoulder Injury
Symptoms of a shoulder injury are not always obvious. The shoulder’s ball-and-socket joint gives human arms a great range of motion, which also means it’s prone to stress. This can be especially true for those who live an active lifestyle or whose job is physically demanding.
There are some ways to tell if you’ve suffered a shoulder injury. These include:
- Stiffness that doesn’t allow you to move your arm normally
- Weakness in the shoulder
- The feeling that your shoulder can pop out of its socket
If you’re feeling any of these symptoms, it’s best to take it easy so you don’t worsen the problem. It is also a good idea to consult your doctor, depending on the severity of your symptoms.
Quick Relief From Shoulder Pain
Aside from medication, there are several ways to soothe a shoulder injury and relieve the pain caused by it.
If you speak to your doctor, he might tell you that one easy way to soothe the pain of a shoulder injury is by doing regular light stretches and exercises. These exercises are straightforward and can be done at any time of the day. Some of these include stretching your arms, neck and chest.
As will all exercises, be careful not to overdo it. Even light exercise has the risk of causing or making your shoulder injury worse if you stretch too far. Only stretch within a comfortable position — don’t force yourself if you’re not feeling it.
Hydrotherapy is a great way to soothe the pain from a shoulder injury. Hydrotherapy is precisely what you might think it is — using water to help with physical therapy needs. This can range from sitting in a warm or hot bath to using a specialized hydrotherapy pool for exercise.
Hydrotherapy typically works using the weightlessness of water coupled with movement exercises to help relieve body pain. These exercises are not meant to be strenuous — they focus on areas of the body such as the shoulders, joints and back. Hydrotherapy is often used as part of a physical therapy regimen for those who have undergone joint replacement surgery.
Treating With Ice and Heat
Using ice is a tried and tested method for treating soft shoulder injuries. The low temperatures of ice constrict blood vessels and decrease circulation to the afflicted area. This will cool down the injured joints and reduce swelling.
While you typically want to use ice as soon as possible after your injury is afflicted, using heat throughout the healing process is more effective. While ice restricts blood flow, heat can hasten blood flow through the afflicted area. Warming an injury that is currently healing can relieve pain and stiffness by loosening the muscles around the area.
Press the cold pack down on the injury for 20 minutes when using ice. Similarly, press down for 15-20 minutes when using heat packs until the pain has subsided.
Using compression packs is a good alternative to heat and cold. Compression packs and shoulder wraps use a calculated amount of pressure to restrict blood flow to the injured area. Like ice packs, this can reduce swelling and lessen pain.
Compression treatments are generally used for more long-term recovery. If the pain from your shoulder injury is persistent, you might want to look into using a compression shoulder sling or bandage. However, compression devices might also worsen your shoulder injury if not used correctly. Consult your doctor to make sure compression therapy is right for you.
Plenty of over-the-counter pain medications can help soothe your shoulder injury. Medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen can reduce inflammation and help with pain management. You can also apply topical relief treatments onto the injured area, producing a soothing hot or cold sensation. Ask your doctor what kind of medication is right for you.
Acupuncture has proven to be an effective treatment for shoulder pain. Acupuncture uses needles to pierce key areas of the body, usually around the afflicted area. These needles are placed in such a way that they stimulate sensory nerves under the skin and muscles. This allows the body to produce pain-relieving endorphins.
However, acupuncture treatment might not be for everyone. Speak to your doctor or a specialist to determine if this therapy is right for you.
Take Care of Your Shoulder Injury
Finding quick relief from shoulder pain might be challenging, but the comfort is worth it. Simple remedies like doing light stretching and using compression tools can go a long way to soothing your shoulder injury.
Beth is the Managing Editor and content manager at Body+Mind. She shares knowledge on a variety of topics related to nutrition, healthy living, and anything food-related. In her spare time, Beth enjoys trying out new fitness trends and recipes.