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Tips for shoulder pain relief

Shoulder pain can start from the shoulder joint itself or maybe its surrounding muscles, tendons or ligaments. Shoulder pain affects the movement or activities of the arm or shoulder.

Several diseases and conditions such as gallbladder disease or heart disease that affect structures in the abdomen or chest can also cause shoulder pain. When shoulder pain is due to some other causes is called referred pain.

Usually, people try different shoulder pain relief exercises and physical therapy exercises for shoulder pain without proper guidance from an orthopaedic doctor. It is always advisable to consult with a shoulder pain specialist before taking any home remedies for shoulder and neck pain or shoulder pain relief exercises. It’s because the shoulder pain could be some underlying health issues, or sometimes it could worsen your shoulder pain. You can connect with our expert shoulder specialist at the CK Birla Hospital in Gurgaon for the best treatment options and recommendations.

Causes of shoulder pain

Several conditions and factors can contribute to shoulder pain. The most common cause is rotator cuff tendinitis (which affects the muscles and the tendons that help in moving shoulder joints). 

Other causes of shoulder pain include:

  • Broken arm- a fracture on any bone (ulna, radius and humerus) of the arm.
  • Bursitis- a condition of inflammation to the bursa (fluid-filled sacs) that act as cushions at the joints.
  • Dislocated shoulder- displacement of upper arm bone from the shoulder blade socket due to any sports injury
  • Shoulder Osteoarthritis a common chronic joint condition in which cartilage breaks down, causing the joint bones to rub together. 
  • Impingement- a condition caused by rubbing of connective tissue on a shoulder blade.
  • Frozen shoulder a common musculoskeletal disorder that affects the shoulder joint.
  • Septic arthritis- is an infection in the joint tissue and joint fluid.
  • Tendon rupture- a condition in which the tendon separates in part or whole from tissue to which it is attached.
  • Tendinitis- an inflammation or irritation of a tendon.

Symptoms of shoulder pain

Depending upon the possible causes, symptoms may vary from person to person. These symptoms include:

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When to see a doctor

Some signs that need medical attention are;

  • You are unable to carry objects or rotate your arms properly 
  • Joint deformity due to injury
  • Shoulder pain that occurs while resting or at night 
  • Shoulder pain that continues beyond a few days
  • Swelling or bruising around your arm or joint
  • Any sign of an infection like skin redness, fever, and warmth

If you are having similar issues related to shoulder pain or looking for an expert for shoulder pain relief, you might connect with Dr Reetadyuti Mukhopadhyay, leading shoulder specialist in Gurgaon, or book an appointment with the CK Birla Hospital today.

Ways to relieve shoulder pain yourself

You can do a few things and avoid a few things to relieve shoulder pain by yourself. If your shoulders still hurt the same, seek medical attention. 

Things you should consider;

  • Keep yourself active and gently move your shoulders.
  • Try shoulder exercises for at least 6 to 8 weeks to stop pain from returning.
  • Try to stand up straight with your shoulders down and gently back
  • Sit with a cushion behind the back.
  • Try using heat or cold packs to relieve the shoulder pain.

Things you should avoid;

  • Do not completely stop using your shoulders.
  • Do not perform strenuous exercises or use heavy gym equipment.
  • Do not use any over-the-counter medicine or pain killers before taking recommendations.

Exercises for shoulder pain relief

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1. Scapular stabilization exercises

  • Scapular pushups
  1. Stand in front of a wall with your hands at chest height and shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keep your arms locked and your palms against the wall.
  3. Without bending your arms, extend your sternum towards the wall until both shoulder blades meet behind you.
  4. Drive evenly with both hands, pushing the sternum away from the wall until both shoulder blades open and the upper back is slightly rounded. Repeat the same.
  • Band pull aparts
  1. Stand upright and hold a long band with both hands, palms facing each other, about shoulder-width apart. There should be no tension in the band.
  2. With both arms, stretch the band out to the sides as far as possible, keeping them about shoulder height.
  3. Slowly bring your arms together and control the stretching of the band until your hands return to the starting position. Repeat the same.
  • Wall ball circles
  1. Stand in front of a wall and hold a medicine (exercise ball) ball in front of you, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart (standing with a little space between feet, which is straight below the outside of your shoulders).
  2. Press the medicine ball against the wall with one hand, palm flat against the floor at shoulder level. Do not drop the ball.
  3. Use only the palm of your hand to roll the ball in small circles clockwise and anticlockwise (counter-clockwise)

2. Strengthening of deltoid exercises

  • Barbell upright row
  1. Stand upright and hold an EZ-bar (barbell) with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. With your chest up and abs tight, lift the bar or weights to your shoulders, starting with your elbows.
  3. Keep the lift step smooth to avoid putting excess strain on your wrists, elbows, or shoulder joints.
  4. In this upper position, pause and focus on holding the traps as tight as possible, then slowly lower the weight to the starting position.
  • Dips
  1. Position yourself with a bench in your back. Your feet should be flat on the floor with your knees at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Squeeze your core and lower your body off the bench. Lower yourself so that your elbows end at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Keep your upper body and head straight and your elbows close to your body.
  4. Hold the dipped position for 1 to 2 seconds before pushing up.
  5. Move up and down without going back to the bench.
  • Dumbbell front raise
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your back should be straight and your feet flat on the floor. The arms holding weights should hang down.
  2. Hold the dumbbells horizontally on your thighs with your palms facing your thighs. Make sure you have a firm grip.
  3. Strengthen your abdominal muscles.
  4. As you inhale, lift the weights, arms forward and palms down. Your elbows should be slightly bent to reduce stress on your joints. When your arms are approximately horizontal with the floor, pause and feel your shoulders tense up.
  5. As you exhale, bring the dumbbells back to the starting position on your thighs in a slow and controlled motion.

3. Strengthening of rotator cuff exercises

  • Doorway stretch
  1. Stand in an open doorway, with your arms stretching out to your sides.
  2. Grip the sides of the doorway at or below shoulder level with each hand and lean forward through the door until you feel a slight stretch.
  3. Keep your back straight as you bend forward and put your weight on your toes. Feel a stretch in the front of your shoulder. Avoid stretching too much.
  • Side-lying external rotation
  1. Lie on the side opposite your injured arm.
  2. Bend the elbow of your injured arm 90 degrees and bring your elbow to your side. Your forearm should rest on your stomach.
  3. On the injured side, hold a light dumbbell in your hand. Slowly raise the dumbbell towards the ceiling while keeping your elbow at your side. Stop twisting your arm when you feel the tension.
  4. Hold the dumbbell up for a few seconds before returning to the starting position with your arms down.
  • High-to-low rows
  1. Attach a resistance band to something stable and sturdy at or above shoulder height. Make sure it is secure, so it will not lose when you pull it out.
  2. Lower one knee to raise the knee from the injured arm. Keep your body and lower knee in an aligned position. Put the other hand on the raised knee.
  3. Hold the band securely with your arm outstretched and pull your elbow towards you. Keep your back straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together and down as you pull. Your body should not move or twist with your arm.

Final thoughts 

In case you are experiencing any kind of shoulder pain or you want to get immediate shoulder pain relief visit the shoulder specialist today. For more information, book an appointment with our expert orthopaedic surgeons at the CK Birla Hospital or call us at +91 124 4882248.

FAQs

Ques: How do I get my shoulder to stop hurting?

Ans: Here are tips for helping shoulder pain to get better:

  • You can put an ice pack on your shoulder for 15 minutes. Do this 3 to 4 times a day for 3-4 days. 
  • Avoid doing heavy work so that your shoulder gets to rest for the next few days.
  • Slowly return to the regular activities. 
  • Learn exercises to stretch and strengthen the shoulder.
  • Practice good posture to keep the shoulder tendons and muscles in the right positions.

Ques: What are some Indian home remedies for shoulder pain relief?

Ans: Following are some of the best home remedies for shoulder pain relief:

  • A mild hot shower on your shoulder for about 5 to 10 minutes or use hot to relax your shoulder muscle.
  • Use an ice pack for 10-15 minutes daily for 3-4 days.
  • Try to do stretching exercises to relax shoulder muscles and joints.
  • You can take a salt bath as it helps relax stiff muscles and soothe sore joints. Fill a bathtub with lukewarm water and add Epsom salts. 
  • Give a gentle massage to the sore muscles. 

Ques: What is the best pain reliever for shoulder pain?

Ans: There are many options for pain relievers for shoulder pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen are also helpful in relieving shoulder pain. Before taking any medications, consult an expert shoulder surgeon

Ques: What is the main cause of shoulder pain?

Ans: The most common cause of shoulder pain is when rotator cuff tendons are trapped under the bony area in the shoulder. The tendons become damaged or inflamed. This condition is known as rotator cuff tendinitis or bursitis.

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Author: Dr Reetadyuti Mukhopadhyay
Dr Reetadyuti brings over 11 years of rich experience in the field of shoulder, arthroscopy and sports injury. He completed his MBBS from MAMC (Delhi) and is a gold medalist in MS Orthopaedics from PGIMS (Rohtak). Having experience of more than 4000 ACL surgeries, 2000 shoulder instability surgeries, 2000 rotator cuff repairs, and more than 1000 PCL, he has successfully treated many national & International level athletes
 
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