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How to Treat Shoulder Pain

An aching shoulder is a problem that could affect men and women of all age groups. Overuse of this ball-and-socket joint puts the stress on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and leads to a multitude of problems. Knowing how to treat shoulder pain effectively is important, especially as there are so many methods available.

Possible Causes

The ideal treatment for your condition depends on the cause. If you are uncertain about the diagnosis, get the advice of a medical professional before starting any therapy on your own. Some of the possible reasons for shoulder pain are:

  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis
  • Dislocation
  • Bursitis
  • Tennis shoulder
  • Arthritis
  • Strain from abrupt increase in activity
  • Acromial spur
  • A direct injury or blow
  • Normal deterioration or aging of the tendon

Some of the problems associated with shoulder pain are the following:

  • You find it difficult to raise your arm
  • Your shoulder aches when you are resting or during the night
  • You are unable to carry or lift objects

Different Kinds of Therapies Available

The main shoulder pain treatment options available are:

  • Physical Therapy – This is a very effective method to alleviate discomfort or stiffness, and includes the following modalities:

a) Therapeutic Exercises – This comprises range of motion, and strengthening and conditioning exercises. Such exercises can help the patient regain mobility, enhance strength, and return to the pre-injury activity level.

b) Heat and Ice Application – The application of heat pads and ice packs is quite common. Ice packs help to bring down pain and inflammation. When these conditions are resolved, a heating pad or hot pack can help to relax sore and tight muscles.

c) TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) – This technique is meant to provide relief by the introduction of electrodes to the skin to stop impulses in underlying nerves. It also improves blood circulation, thereby enabling relaxation of the neck and shoulder muscles.

d) Massage – Massage helps to reduce the stress that may be adding to the shoulder pain. It enhances blood circulation in the area, thereby hastening the healing process. It also enhances the range of motion.

e) Chiropractic Care and Manipulation – Chiropractic adjustments can aid in enhancing mobility and reducing muscle spasm. Chiropractors can assist you in changing your lifestyle and habits to prevent further ailments or injuries.

  • Cortisone Injections – These injections help bring down the inflammation.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications – NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medications) are usually prescribed if the cause of the discomfort is arthritis, tendonitis, or bursitis. NSAIDS reduce swelling and provide pain relief.

Find the Right Specialist

If the ache refuses to go away and persists for several days, you should see an orthopedic or pain management specialist. There are several well known pain management centers that are able to diagnose and treat shoulder pain. Ask your family doctor to give you a name or get suggestions from your friends or colleagues. An online search will also help you find the names of various specialists as well as reviews and testimonials about them.

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