Shoulder pain can be a real pain in the, well, shoulder. I suffer from shoulder pain frequently, thanks to poor posture, slumping over a laptop for work, breastfeeding and bed-sharing with a baby – I’ve had shoulder pain, back pain and neck pain quite frequently over the past few years.
I’ve tried everything – painkillers, cold packs, a hot compress, massage therapy, simple exercises from my chiropractor and more. The trick is to find a treatment plan that works for you.
If you’ve ever experienced the discomfort of a throbbing shoulder, you know how it can disrupt your daily life. Whether it’s due to an injury, overuse, or an underlying health condition, this kind of discomfort can limit your physical activity and make even simple tasks seem daunting. But don’t lose hope just yet!
There are various shoulder pain relief home remedies that can help alleviate your discomfort and get you back in the game.
- Understanding Shoulder Pain
- Home Remedies for Shoulder Pain Relief
- 1. Pain Relief Cream
- 2. Ice Therapy
- 2. Heat Therapy
- 3. Over-the-Counter Medications
- 4. Gentle Massages
- 5. Stretching and Strengthening Exercises
- 6. Balanced Diet and Hydration
- 7. Adequate Rest and Proper Posture
- 8. Use of Essential Oils
- 9. Epsom Salt Bath
- 10. A shoulder pad
- 11. Consultation with a Physical Therapist
- What helps your shoulder pain?
Understanding Shoulder Pain
Before looking at remedies, let’s try to understand what causes shoulder pain. This discomfort can originate from the shoulder joint itself or from surrounding structures like muscles, tendons, or ligaments. The pain may also result from referred pain, where the discomfort is felt in the shoulder, but the problem lies elsewhere in the body, such as in the abdomen or chest.
The most common causes of shoulder pain include rotator cuff issues, sprains and strains, and conditions like osteoarthritis and bursitis. Other culprits might include overuse or repetitive strain injuries, trauma, or health conditions like heart disease or gallbladder disease.
The best way to figure out where your shoulder pain is coming from is to consult with a doctor or physiotherapist. No amount of Googling can give you an accurate answer to your medical problems.
Home Remedies for Shoulder Pain Relief
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at some shoulder pain relief home remedies. Remember, while these remedies can provide relief, they are not meant to replace professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider if your pain persists or worsens.
1. Pain Relief Cream
One of the best ways to help shoulder pain is with a natural pain relief gel. These can help with muscle pain, joint pain, backaches and arthritis.
Just rub the pain relief cream or gel on the painful area for quick relief. Natural pain relief gels contain natural ingredients such as menthol and camphor which helps alleviate pain and sooth any soreness away.
2. Ice Therapy
Good old-fashioned ice is one of the simplest and most effective home remedies for shoulder pain. Applying an ice pack or bag of ice cubes to the affected area can reduce inflammation and numb the sensation of pain. This is particularly useful for acute injuries or conditions that involve inflammation.
Steps to Follow:
- Wrap an ice pack in a thin towel. Never apply ice directly to your skin as it can cause frostbite.
- Place the wrapped ice pack on the affected shoulder for 15-20 minutes.
- Repeat this process up to five times a day, especially in the first 48 hours after an injury.
2. Heat Therapy
Just as cold can soothe an aching shoulder, so too can heat. Heat therapy increases blood flow to the affected area, promoting the healing process, and relaxing tense muscles. This is particularly beneficial for chronic conditions or muscle tension.
Steps to Follow:
- Apply a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm compress to the affected shoulder.
- If using a heating pad, set it to medium heat.
- Leave the heat source in the shoulder area for 15-20 minutes.
- Repeat this process several times a day.
You can get electric heat pads and heated gel packs that do wonders for shoulder and back pain!
3. Over-the-Counter Medications
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can offer temporary relief from shoulder pain. Ibuprofen and naproxen are commonly used NSAIDs that can reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. However, these medications should be used sparingly and under a healthcare provider’s guidance due to potential side effects.
4. Gentle Massages
A gentle massage can do wonders for shoulder pain. It relaxes the shoulder muscles, increases blood circulation, and can help reduce muscle spasms and pain. You can do a self-massage using a tennis ball, get a family member to help or find a professional massage therapist.
Steps to Follow:
- Apply warm oil (like olive or coconut oil) to the affected area.
- Gently knead the sore muscles with your fingers, a tennis ball, or a massage tool.
- Be careful not to apply too much pressure or cause further pain.
5. Stretching and Strengthening Exercises
Regularly performing shoulder exercises can improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion, which can help alleviate shoulder pain. Here are a few exercises you can try:
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Interlace fingers with palms facing down.
- Raise arms above the head, pointing palms towards the ceiling.
- Cross right arm in front of the body above the chest.
- Gently push right elbow with the left hand.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat with the opposite arm.
- Keep back straight and shoulders back.
- Roll shoulders in a backward circular motion 10 times.
- Switch directions and roll shoulders forward 10 times.
Remember to consult with a physical therapist or healthcare provider before starting a new exercise regimen.
6. Balanced Diet and Hydration
Proper nutrition plays an important role in maintaining healthy joints and muscles. Consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help reduce inflammation and promote healing. Staying hydrated is also vital in maintaining muscle health.
7. Adequate Rest and Proper Posture
Rest is so helpful to the recovery process. If your shoulder pain is due to overuse or strain, taking a break from strenuous activities can give your shoulder time to heal. Maintaining proper posture can also help reduce strain on your shoulder and prevent further injury.
8. Use of Essential Oils
Essential oils derived from therapeutic plants have natural anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Peppermint oil, lavender oil, and marjoram oil are commonly used for pain and swelling.
You can add these oils to a warm bath or mix them with a carrier oil for a soothing massage.
9. Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt, rich in magnesium and sulfate, can help soothe aching muscles and joints. Adding Epsom salts to a warm bath can provide relief from shoulder pain.
I love hot baths or a hot shower for helping with my pain. It’s one of my favourite natural remedies!
Steps to Follow:
- Add two cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath.
- Soak in the bath for 15-20 minutes.
- Repeat this process a few times a week.
10. A shoulder pad
A shoulder wrap is a convenient home remedy that can alleviate achy shoulders and provide pain relief.
It uses heat therapy to effectively relax muscles and improve blood circulation. This helps with stiffness.
The gentle pressure of the wrap helps with muscle relaxation and reduces tension. This soothing sensation also aids in distracting from pain signals. Shoulder wraps can help the healing process of minor shoulder injuries.
11. Consultation with a Physical Therapist
If home remedies aren’t providing enough relief, consider consulting with a physical therapist. They can provide personalised exercises and treatment plans to help alleviate shoulder pain and prevent future injuries. See here for the advice the NHS gives for shoulder pain.
What helps your shoulder pain?
Experiencing shoulder pain can be a real hindrance to your daily activities. However, with these simple and effective shoulder pain relief home remedies, you can manage your symptoms and get back to your usual activities in no time. Remember, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider if your shoulder pain persists or worsens. Stay active, stay healthy, and keep those shoulders moving to avoid future shoulder problems.
Q1. How can I relieve my shoulder pain at home?
You can relieve shoulder pain at home by applying ice or heat packs, performing gentle exercises and stretches, getting adequate rest, maintaining proper posture, and using over-the-counter pain relievers as needed.
Q2. What is the fastest way to relieve shoulder pain?
Applying an ice pack to the affected area immediately after an injury can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain quickly. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can also provide quick relief.
Q3. How should I sleep to relieve shoulder pain?
Try sleeping on your back or on the side that isn’t painful. You can also use extra pillows to support your painful shoulder.
Q4. When should I seek medical attention for shoulder pain?
If your shoulder pain is severe, lasts for more than a week, or is accompanied by other symptoms like difficulty breathing or chest tightness, seek medical attention immediately.
If you think your mattress may be giving you back issues, check out this post: How To Choose The Perfect Mattress For Your Sleeping Position