The shoulder is one of the most complex joint systems in your body that’s made up three bones: upper arm bone, shoulder blade, and the collarbone. Other vital shoulder structures include the rotator cuff (muscles and tendons that support the shoulder joint), the bursa (a fluid-filled sac that protects the rotator cuff tendons), and labrum (which is nothing but a cuff of cartilage).
All of these structures function together to support the shoulder.
However, minor injuries and repetitive use can lead to shoulder pain, which can affect the mobility and flexibility of your shoulder joint, thereby making it difficult for you to perform hand and neck movements.
If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder joint while carrying out regular everyday activities, such as combing your hair, scratching your back, lifting items, or typing on the computer, this can indicate that you need to seek medical assistance to fix your issues.
Shoulder pain can occur due to various reasons; here are some of them…
A chronic inflammatory condition, rheumatoid arthritis which has the potential to affect any joint in your body, is one of th most common causes of shoulder pain. It’s a condition in which the immune system attacks the joints by mistake.
When the immune system attacks the joints, it leads to the inflammation that affects the synovium – a tissue that produces fluid to lubricate the joints.
If you fail to address this problem, it will eventually damage the cartilage – the tissue that prevents friction between bones in a joint.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, “About 1.5 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Nearly three times as many women have the disease as men.”
One of the most common types of arthritis, osteoarthritis, can also affect your shoulder joint thereby leading to pain and discomfort. Hitting a wide range of people worldwide, osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cartilage starts damaging slowly.
Rotator Cuff Tear
A rotator cuff tear is also a common cause of shoulder pain. It is nothing but a shoulder injury during which you hurt the rotator cuff muscles or tendons. People who engage in sports like tennis and baseball are the ones who experience this problem frequently, but its occurrence is not limited to them.
In short, anyone with repetitive shoulder use can get a rotator cuff tear.
Frozen shoulder is another significant cause of shoulder pain. Also known as adhesive capsulitis, it’s a condition which makes your shoulder joint stiff and painful, thereby restricting its range of motion.
Now let’s take a look at how to treat shoulder pain…
Consult a Physical Therapist
Whether your pain is stemming from a problem linked to muscles, ligaments, cartilage, nerve or bone, a physical therapist can help you recover from it quickly. When you consult your physical therapist for the first time, they will concentrate on finding out the root cause of your problem. For arriving at a reliable diagnosis, they will check your medical history, ask tons of questions about your eating habits and the kind of physical activities you perform regularly. Apart from that, they will also discuss the symptoms of your problem.
Once they figure out which structure of your shoulder is affected, they will design a care plan to promote the healing process.
According to FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers,”A physical therapist will evaluate your functional abilities and range of motion to create a personalized treatment plan to restore mobility and relieve shoulder pain.”
Your physical therapist may include techniques like ice or heat therapy and ultrasound in your care plan. They may also use manual therapy, joint mobilization, and Kinesio taping, stretching, and strength building exercises, in your treatment plan.
Give Rest To Your Shoulder
If the pain in your shoulder is due to a mild injury, consider taking rest for a couple of days, and you will see the difference. Don’t lift heavy items and avoid repetitive use of shoulder joint for a quick recovery.
Use a Cold Compression Bandage
You can also see a significant reduction in your shoulder pain if you use a compression bandage. Make sure that you wrap it appropriately on your shoulder so that it can function effectively. Avoid wrapping it too tightly; otherwise, it will end up affecting your blood flow.
A compression bandage helps in reducing swelling and accelerating the healing process. You can use it for strains and sprains.
Perform Shoulder Exercises
You can also perform light stretching exercises to reduce your shoulder pain. You can try stretches such as child’s pose, thread the needle, handcuff drill, upper trapezius stretch, and elbow-out rotator stretch.
Lastly, making changes in your diet can also help you reduce your shoulder pain. You should enhance the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, seeds, lentils and beans, and fruits and vegetables, etc., to manage your shoulder pain.