Shoulder pain can make it difficult, if not almost impossible, for you to use your arms when trying to perform everyday tasks. Common causes for shoulder pain include straining the muscles, arthritis, joint injuries, muscle weakness and inflammation (frozen shoulder). Remedies for shoulder pain can include physical therapy, stretching and medication.
Using exercises to work the muscles in your shoulders will help stimulate endorphins, which can temporarily reduce or eliminate your pain. These exercises also will work sore, tired and weak muscles and make them stronger. Stronger muscles can handle more strain than weak muscles.
Shoulder abduction involves lifting one-pound weights over your head and holding each lift for two seconds. Repeat 10 times. External shoulder rotation involves lifting weights off the floor while lying on your stomach on a sturdy table. Lift the weights from the ground and hold them parallel to the table surface, repeating about 10 times.
Stretching your shoulders on a daily basis can help ease the pain in muscles that are tense or sore. Stretching also helps improve flexibility in muscles. If muscles are inflexible, they will feel pain much quicker if you move them beyond their range of motion. Stretching can also help relieve pain by relaxing tense and knotted muscles.
Supine abduction will stretch your shoulder and back muscles. This exercise is done on your back by pulling one arm toward the opposite ear with the opposite arm. Repeat the stretch 10 times for each arm.
For a relaxing stretch, lift your hands above your head as far as you can. You also can hug yourself by throwing your arms around your body as far as you can.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen provide temporary relief by reducing inflammation in the shoulder muscles that may be causing pain. They also help reduce general pain without causing drowsiness. These drugs are available over the counter.
If these medications do not give you relief, a doctor can x-ray your shoulder, diagnose the problem, prescribe powerful pain medicine, and map out a course of treatment. A doctor may inject your shoulder with steroid drugs such as cortisone to reduce inflammation. Steroids can provide relief from persistent shoulder pain for nearly a year, if you do not place added strain on the shoulder.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Excess bone can put pressure on muscles and tendons, which can cause pain and inflammation. Bone shaving removes the excess bone.