Shoulder pain involving tendons, muscles, ligaments, or nerves affects many people globally. It is estimated that the annual incidence of shoulder pain in the United States is 14.7 per 1,000 patients. If you engage in repetitive activities, such as swimming, playing tennis, painting, or lifting, you are likely to experience shoulder pain, which may meaningfully affect the performance of everyday activities. In other instances, the pain is caused by an accident or certain medical conditions, such as arthritis.
How Is Shoulder Pain Treated?
If you have been having persistent shoulder pain, you should seek immediate medical attention. If left untreated, the condition can lead to permanent disability, shoulder deformity, or severe discomfort due to intense pain.
Here are four main shoulder pain treatment options that can work for you:
1. Plaster or Synthetic Cast
If shoulder pain is due to a fracture or bone dislocation, you need professional treatment. If you have tried home remedies without success, it might be an indication that your arm has popped out of its socket, and only a cast can help. The same case applies to cracked or broken shoulder bones. The cast supports and immobilizes the arm, facilitating healing.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Medication
Sometimes, shoulder pain is less severe and does not need specialized treatment. All you need is medication to lower inflammation and relieve pain. The common types of anti-inflammatory drugs that the physician may prescribe include naproxen, aspirin, and ibuprofen. If the pain is due to osteoarthritis, the relevant drugs may also be prescribed.
3. Muscle Relaxants
When you engage in repetitive tasks, your shoulders may experience a cartilage tear. A muscle tear may also be experienced when you continuously lift heavy weights. In such cases, the doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants. These drugs play a significant role in reducing shoulder muscle spasms, relieving pain, and increasing arm mobility.
4. Home Remedies
Sometimes, shoulder pain treatment doesn't require any medication. Some home remedies are effective in strengthening muscles and soothing inflammation. These include:
- Cold Compress: You can use ice in a plastic bag and compress it on the affected region.
- Heat Therapy: You can dip a piece of towel in hot water and use it to massage the shoulder. You can also use a hot water bottle. This remedy substantially soothes a stiff shoulder and relaxes tense muscles.
- Exercises: Most shoulder pain exercises focus on relaxing and releasing tension in the shoulder.
If you are experiencing persistent shoulder pain, you should seek prompt medical attention. The doctor may recommend an X-ray to identify the root cause of the pain. In some cases, shoulder pain treatment only requires anti-inflammatory drugs, exercises, and simple home remedies.