Shoulder Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Management

Our shoulders are critical parts of our bodies. And some of us literally carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. While the shoulder is an extremely versatile joint, its repeated use can lead to pain. Be it holding heavy handbags, stress or a hard throw during sports – your shoulder is main joint that suffers due to these. While we explore the best and easiest remedies to manage shoulder pain through this blog, let’s first understand the shoulder joint and its functioning.

UNDERSTANDING THE SHOULDER JOINT

Our shoulders are one of the most flexible parts of our bodies. They have two major joints. The main joint is commonly known as the ball-and-socket joint due to its shape. This joint is essential for arm mobility – it allows the circular motion of the arm as well as its towards and away motion from the body.

The second joint is the smaller one known as the acromioclavicular joint where the shoulder blade meets the collar bone. This joint allows the gliding movement of the arm and also the arm to be raised over the head.

CAUSES OF SHOULDER PAIN

Shoulder pain is more common than we think it is. There can be several reasons and injuries that can lead to shoulder pain, inflammation and immobility. Most of the times, shoulder pain lasts for a relatively short period, in which it is said to be acute. However, in some cases, it can be chronic – lasting over years as part of a long-term condition.

Some of the common causes for shoulder pain are:

Sprains or strains

Rotator cuff injuries

Dislocation

Fractures

Frozen shoulder

Most of these injuries come about while playing sports, overloading the shoulder joint with heavy objects, accidents involving a slip or fall or forceful impact on the chest and putting repetitive strain on the shoulder joint during activities like weightlifting or swimming.

Arthritis is also a major cause for shoulder pain and though generally seen as an age-related wear and tear disease, it can also affect the younger generation, especially athletes. Injuries caused by a fall or collision or caused by overuse and repeated stress can increase the risk of developing arthritis.

SYMPTOMS OF SHOULDER PAIN

While the most common symptom of a shoulder injury is pain, it can also be categorized by muscle weakness or stiffness, warmth or redness in the shoulder, clicking or popping sounds of the joint, a grinding sensation when you move the arm, limited range of motion and pain in the neck, back and arm.

REMEDIES TO MANAGE SHOULDER PAIN

Most instances of shoulder pain can be managed at home. There are easy home remedies that can help soothe pain and inflammation and strengthen the muscles. Some of them are:

Applying a cold compress – This remedy is used when there is inflammation / swelling in the shoulder area. It reduces swelling in the shoulder and brings about relief by numbing the pain.

Heat Therapy – This remedy is most effective to alleviate pain and stiffness in the shoulder. Using an electric heating pad or a hot water bottle is the best way to go about it.

Compression brace – Swelling and pain in the shoulder can be eased by wearing a compression brace for support. It protects the shoulder joint by keeping it in place thus allowing it enough time to heal.

Exercise – You can also include pain relief exercises in your daily routine to ease shoulder pain and stiffness. Some stretches that can be performed are shoulder flexions, arm circles, pendulum stretches, overhead shoulder stretches and towel stretches. Strengthening exercises to recover from injuries or as warm-ups too can be performed. Some of them are arm rotations, scissors exercise, the upside down namaste, etc.

Perform daily tasks differently – Carrying out daily routines while battling shoulder pain can be a challenge. However, you can exercise caution by pacing yourself and performing tasks differently so that you don’t strain your shoulder further. For example:

  • Try and sit down while ironing clothes. Do not hunch your back or shoulders while doing so.
  • Do not lean forward while washing dishes. Use a step stool to stand upright to lower strain on the shoulder joint.
  • Sit while chopping vegetables. Sit close to the counter and ensure that your back and shoulders are straight so as to avoid excessive strain.

Taking regular breaks and performing stretches while completing household chores is essential.

Apart from these measures for relief, you can also use a topical pain relief gel like the new Ultra Strong Zandu Fast Relief Gel. 1.5 times more powerful, it contains microdroplets that penetrate deep into the tissues to provide relief from muscular pain in just 2 minutes. If your pain persists, it is advised that you consult an orthopedic doctor or your physiotherapist immediately.