Multiple tendons and muscles make up the shoulder, which is what gives you such a wide range of motion. When you have shoulder pain, it can be difficult to manage day-to-day activities — even cleaning, showering, or walking your dog. Physical therapy can be very beneficial for those with shoulder pain, but at-home relief can also improve quality of life and make it easier to do the things you need and love to do.
There are three common causes of shoulder pain: tendinitis, rotator cuff tears and osteoarthritis. These may be due to an injury or a degenerative condition. Minor injuries will typically resolve on their own, but anything that involves pain that travels from the shoulder to the arm, chest, neck or head; tingling or numbness in the fingers or neck; a grinding sensation when you move your shoulder; or shooting pains while moving may be a sign that physical therapy is necessary.
To supplement your nonsurgical physical therapy, there are three steps you can take for at-home treatment of shoulder pain, regardless of the cause: heat and ice, anti-inflammatory medication, and rest.
How to treat shoulder pain at home
Heat and ice – A regimen of applying heat and ice to the affected area can help relieve shoulder pain. You’ll want to alternate heat, which loosens muscles and reduces pressure, and ice, which reduces swelling and numbs pain.
Anti-inflammatory medication – Anti-inflammatory medication like NSAIDs may be a good pain relief solution for those with shoulder pain. Over-the-counter medication is usually enough, but your doctor may choose to prescribe something stronger if needed. Remember to check with your doctor before taking any new medications.
Rest – Especially between other treatment options, simply resting your arm can help any injuries heal and improve your shoulder pain over time. Avoid anything strenuous, throwing, lifting or other shoulder-heavy activity until your shoulder pain resolves completely. It’s especially important to avoid exacerbating your injury.
Physical therapy is an effective, nonsurgical treatment for shoulder pain
If you are experiencing sporadic or ongoing shoulder pain, please make an appointment today at one of our offices in Edison, Woodbridge or Union, NJ. The experienced certified physical therapists at Arrow Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation will work with you to develop the best treatment options for your specific needs.