Here are some simple tips on what you can do to prevent and ease shoulder pain and when to get help from an expert.
Smoking can slow down and interfere with the healing of bones, skin and other body tissues. As a result, recovery from a shoulder injury can be slower or less complete.
Positions and Activities to Help Manage Your Pain
Maintaining a good posture can help your shoulder pain at rest and when moving the arm. Keeping your shoulders back and spine upright can help to relieve pressure in the shoulder and make tasks like overhead activities easier. Simple exercises to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder blades and stretches for the front of the chest can be effective in just 6 weeks – see our shoulder exercise protocols for more tips on the shoulder.
Night pain is common and can often be the most troubling symptom. To help manage night pain in the shoulder, support the neck and torso with pillow to take weight of the shoulder joint. Try to sleep on the opposite side to the painful shoulder and support the arms with pillows. If you have been prescribed medication for your shoulder pain, ask your provider if taking it at night would be helpful, or if a slow release form of the medication is available.
Exercise Regularly – Get Active!
Although it may feel counter intuitive, keeping the shoulder moving is often the best thing you can do if it is painful.
Also, strengthening your upper back muscles and stretching regularly are vital in maintaining your shoulder function and in many people these exercises can actually relief pain.
Avoid Lifting Heavy or Awkward Objects
But if you must…keep objects close to your body. Avoid lifting weight at arms length, as this places the most strain on the shoulder. Ask for help if the object is heavy or awkward.
Keep Your Shoulder Moving
One of the biggest myths after suffering a shoulder injury is to immobilize the shoulder to protect it from further injury. However this often leads to stiffness, more pain and longer recovery. Firstly, you need to rule out a serious shoulder injury such as a fracture. In the absence of serious damage, the majority of soft tissue pain responds well to regular gentle movement.