Shoulder pain – self help

Shoulder pain – what you can try at home

Firstly modify your activity, relative rest will help! Don’t “push through it” as this can stress the tendon further leading to a greater risk of further damage.

The aims of the treatment are to reduce the stress on the tendon(s) so that your body can try and heal the area. Change things!

How to reduce the stress on the tendon

If possible, stop the activity that causes pain or find a different way of doing it.

For example, you may find that you tend to use your arm at shoulder height. Try to avoid this by raising yourself up (i.e. using steps for sustained overhead activities).

Another common movement that aggravates shoulder impingement is raising your arm with the elbow twisted outwards. Try keeping the elbow in and then raise your arm, palms up to the ceiling, so you are trying to clap your hands up overhead, similar to a waiter balancing a tray on their palm. Is this less painful? It may feel extremely awkward to begin with – however, with practice, it will feel more familiar.

Remember your shoulder blade is half of your shoulder joint. Look in the mirror, is your shoulder blade lower on the side that hurts? You’ll need a tailored strengthening progrmme with which we can help.
Think about your posture – try and gently ‘square’ your shoulder blades, keeping your elbows and body still.

In addition, try sitting with your arm by your side, with the elbow propped on an arm rest. This will tend to keep the shoulder blade up.

• If you are involved in a sport/profession using repetitive movements, seek expert advice on your technique. A chiropractor can give you advice on your movement patterns as well as appropriate stretching and progressive strengthening exercises.

How to influence/break the pain cycle

All the ideas mentioned above can reduce the pain. Specific treatments may also help.

Pain medication (i.e. tablets, seek advice form your pharmacist or GP)

Try using anti-inflammatory cream or gel on the area (from chemist without a prescription, but check you have no allergies or conditions that are influenced by these drugs).

• Try using a wet ice-cube and massage it over the tender area for 10 minutes.

Greg Bailey
Greg Bailey
Clinical Director, Chiropractor & MSK Sonographer
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