Shoulder pain affects roughly 18-26% of adults at any given time. Fortunately, there are several at-home treatments you can try on your own to help minimize and relieve shoulder pain.
Causes of Shoulder Pain
Before we dive into how to soothe shoulder pain, it’s crucial to understand how shoulder problems are caused in the first place.
Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
One of the most common causes of shoulder pain is rotator cuff tendonitis or bursitis, the inflammation of the muscles and tendons in the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff tendonitis often occurs when the shoulder muscles are overworked or injured. In addition, repetitive overhead activities such as throwing, raking, or even washing your car can contribute to the development of tendonitis. Symptoms of rotator cuff tendonitis include:
- Dull pain
- Swelling in the shoulder area
- Trouble sleeping
- Limited range of motion
Rotator Cuff Tear
A rotator cuff tear occurs when the tendons in your shoulder tear or separate, often due to age or an injury. Those over the age of 80 have a higher chance of a rotator cuff tear with rates as high as 80%.
Those working in occupations such as construction and carpentry also have a higher chance of a rotator cuff tear due to the amount of overhead work one does. Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include:
- Dull ache in the shoulder or upper arm
- Arm weakness
- Loss of muscle
- Popping or clicking sounds when moving your shoulder
- Difficulty raising your arm
Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
Shoulder impingement syndrome is a condition that occurs when the top outer edge of your shoulder blade impinges on your rotator cuff tendons. Shoulder impingement syndrome is the cause of 44 to 65% of all shoulder injuries, making it the most common cause of shoulder pain. Symptoms of shoulder impingement syndrome include:
- Pain when reaching behind your back
- Pain and tenderness in the front of your shoulder
- Pain while sleeping on the affected shoulder
- Arm/shoulder weakness
Best Ways to Prevent Shoulder Pain
Now that we know a bit about what causes shoulder pain let’s look at how we can prevent these injuries from occurring in the first place.
Warming up before any physical activity helps prevent injuries by increasing blood flow and oxygen to your muscles. Keeping your shoulder muscles strong and flexible is another excellent way to prevent injuries from happening. Try these shoulder workouts and stretches to keep your shoulder muscles strong and flexible.
If you do not have access to weights, pushups are a great way to strengthen your shoulder muscles. When doing pushups, make sure you focus on your shoulder muscles by using proper form.
1) Place both hands on the floor about shoulder-width apart and extend your legs behind you, resting on your toes.
2) Keep your shoulders down and back. Be sure to maintain a straight line from your head to your heels.
3) Slowly lower yourself towards the ground by bending your elbows out to the sides. Lower yourself until your chest is just above the floor.
4) Push back up by straightening your arms.
As this exercise becomes easier, try to increase how many pushups you do in one set or how long you hold the pushup position.
Incline Bench Press
The incline bench press is one exercise you can do to strengthen your shoulder muscles. This exercise can be done with a barbell or dumbbells. Follow these steps to do the incline bench press exercise safely.
1) Lie on the incline bench and hold a barbell or dumbbells in your hands. Keep your feet flat on the floor and place them hip-distance apart for stability.
2) Keep your stomach muscles tight and back pressed into the bench. This will keep your body in a straight line. Also, keep your eyes looking forward throughout the exercise.
3) Press the weights up and together over your face so your hands meet.
4) Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
Do this exercise for three sets of 10 repetitions. Be sure to have someone you trust to spot you when doing this exercise.
Shoulder Stretch with Rotation
The shoulder stretch with rotation exercise may help stretch your shoulder muscles and improve how far you can move your arm. This exercise should be done gently, never forcing your shoulder muscles to stretch. To do this:
1) Sit on a bench or chair with your feet flat on the floor, hip-distance apart.
2) Holding a towel or resistance band with both hands, position your arms, so they are pointing up. Your forearms should be at a 90-degree angle.
3) While sitting up straight, gently pull the towel or resistance band towards your right shoulder. Be sure not to bend forward or lean back.
4) Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch arms and repeat.
For an added challenge, hold a five or 10-pound weight in your hands while doing this exercise. Stretches for the shoulder muscles may help prevent injury and improve how well you perform daily activities.
Ways to Relieve Shoulder Pain
While stretching and strengthening exercises help prevent injuries, accidents can happen. Here are a few things you can do to relieve shoulder pain if a shoulder injury does occur.
Shoulder Pain Treatment at Home
Many shoulder injuries may be treated at home. Applying ice packs several times a day to your shoulder area will help decrease any swelling. Wrapping an elastic bandage around your elbow when sleeping can also reduce pain and keep your shoulder stabilized.
If the pain persists, Rejuvinix can help! Rejuvinix@Home is an at-home program designed to relieve shoulder pain and treat injuries. With Rejuvinix@Home, you can seek treatment from the comfort of your own home.
Other Treatment Options
If home treatment does not provide enough relief, you should see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce the pain or recommend physical therapy for shoulder injuries. If you have a shoulder injury resulting from a sports-related accident, sports medicine may provide the treatment you need.
Rejuvinix is committed to providing patients with non-surgical and minimally-invasive technologies and therapies. If you are suffering from a shoulder injury or any other type of joint pain, request a Rejuvinix appointment today!