Shoulder pain management is varied, and dependent on the source of your shoulder pain.
The shoulder is a complex joint and I see a variety of different causes of shoulder pain every week in my London clinics. The best way to treat pain initially, is to consult with a physician or physiotherapist to ensure that you get a correct diagnosis.
Once the source of shoulder pain is diagnosed, a plan to manage shoulder pain can be prescribed and individualized. Pain relief can include over-the-counter medicines such as Penetrex, drugs prescribed by your doctor, physical therapy, behavior modification, surgery, or a combination of many treatments. The same shoulder pain management may work on one person, but may not relieve pain in another. Some treatments may work specifically for certain shoulder conditions as well.
Diagnosing Shoulder Pain
The more accurate and detailed the description that you provide, the easier it is to diagnose the cause and treatment. Before a visit to your physician or orthopaedic surgeon, it is very helpful for you to have self-assessed the pain that you are experiencing.
Shoulder Pain self-assessment
Being prepared to answer some of the following questions, will help in diagnosing your shoulder pain source. Knowing specifics from you, will help the doctor or specialist prescribe the most beneficial treatment to relieve your pain.
- When did you first experience the shoulder pain, and how long has it persisted?
- Where do you feel the shoulder pain? Is it all over the shoulder, or in a specific area?
- Have you experienced this pain before?
- Were there any external forces which may have caused the pain, such as strenuous activity, your occupation, or an accident?
- Have you experienced any other symptoms, along with the shoulder pain?
- What is the intensity of your pain?
- Do specific movements or activities increase the shoulder pain intensity?
- Is the pain constant, or intermittent? Does the shoulder pain continue even when you are at rest?
- Are you experiencing any weakness, or numbness in your arm?
- Describe what the pain feels like in various situations. Is the pain burning, stabbing, shooting, dull, or tingling?
- What types of shoulder pain management have you tried already?
Documenting the answers to these questions is important, because you may forget dates, or important facts which may aid in the correct diagnosis. If your injury is extensive, or your pain seems to be severe, the cause may be determined by other diagnostic measures. X-rays, MRIs, and ultrasound scans can help to delineate your shoulder joint, muscles, and tendons, aiding in the diagnostic procedure
Shoulder Pain Medications
I usaually recommend [easyazon-link asin=”B0026HDURA”]Penetrex[/easyazon-link] for local shoulder pain relief. Nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and NSAIDs with COX-2 inhibitor drugs may be taken, and usually work well with arthritis-related shoulder pain. COX-2 medications contain specific inhibitors, which block an enzyme known to cause inflammation. If shoulder pain is not relieved by NSAIDs, a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD), may be prescribed. DMARDs are believed to correct immune system deficiencies which contribute to arthritic conditions.
Steroid injections may be administered if the pain is related to the rotator cuff muscles. Corticosteroid injections help to relieve pain, as well as inflammation.
If the rotator cuff injury is severe enough, and a tear in the muscle is involved, surgery may be recommended. Any type of over-the-counter or prescribed pain medication may have adverse side effects.
Depending on the type of shoulder pain or injury, surgery would be considered the last alternative.
Alternative Pain Medication
With proper care, a minor shoulder injury often heals on its own. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, you can care for the shoulder by resting, applying ice, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and doing gentle shoulder exercises. If the pain persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other symptoms, you should seek professional care.
Acupuncture, chiropractic massage therapy, and naprapathy are other alternative ways to deal with shoulder pain. Acupuncture uses sterile needles, placed in strategic points on the body, to control pain.
Chiropractic massage therapy uses manual manipulation of the shoulder joint and soft tissues to relieve pain.
Naprapathy is manual manipulation, ultrasound, electrical impulses, heat, cold, posture and nutritional counseling together, as an alternative type of shoulder pain management.
Lifestyle changes including paying attention to posture, work habits, and exercising regularly can help to prevent shoulder pain.
Doing regular range of motion exercises, taking frequent breaks at work, and resting between repetitive movements will help to prevent, and also ease existing shoulder pain.
Your shoulders are important, and need care and maintenance to work without pain. Often patients arrive at my clinic having put up with shoulder pain for weeks and even months. If shoulder pain is interfering with your day-to-day life or preventing you from sleeping at night don’t put off getting treatment.
The first steps to shoulder pain management are prevention, and a getting an accurate diagnosis of the shoulder pain source. [easyazon-link asin=”B0026HDURA”]Penetrex[/easyazon-link] is very effective for local pain relief and I recommend getting my free report with more free tips and advice for relieving shoulder pain. Just enter your name and email address to receive this valuable guide.
Tim Allardyce DO MCSP SRP