The shoulder is the most flexible and overworked ball-and-socket joint in the human body. The shoulder blade consists of the humerus, upper arm bone, scapula, shoulder blade, clavicle, or collarbone.
The humerus’ head is formed like a ball. This ball-shaped part fits into a shallow round socket in your shoulder blade called a glenoid. This small ball-and-socket joint is encapsulated by a covering of muscles called a rotator cuff and is secured in its place by solid cords called tendons.
The cartilage between bones acts as a cushion and absorbs shock. This layer also contains muscles and tendons that keep the joint healthy. The synovium is a soft tissue that secretes fluid to keep the cartilage healthy and lubricated.
Your shoulder has a lot of motion because it comprises muscles and ligaments. This lets you do a lot of things. But with this extra motion comes some problems. You might feel pain if something goes wrong with any shoulder part.
According to a BMJ report, self-reported shoulder pain cases are estimated to be between 16 percent and 26 percent. This problem is very common.
Muscles, ligaments, and tendons in and around your shoulder might cause shoulder pain. This pain can be terrible and make it hard to move around.
Second, once your shoulder begins to pain, it might be challenging to focus on anything else. This is because the pain can make it challenging to do things you usually do every day. For example, it might be hard to carry out daily chores or work in an office.
Many people experience shoulder pain. On the other hand, people who use laptops, tablets, and cellphones for long periods are more prone to have this problem than others.
Causes of Shoulder Pain
- Shoulder pain may be caused by multiple sources and situations. As the most flexible joint, the shoulder is more sensitive to pain.
- The most common cause of shoulder pain is an injury to the soft tissues, including the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This could be because of overuse or too much use.
- It could even be because the tendon in the rotator cuff is sore.
- Sometimes, the pain in your shoulder is coming from another place. This is called referred pain, meaning that the pain is not coming from the shoulder.
Some other things that can cause shoulder pain are:
- Bone spurs Tendinitis
- Rupture the cartilage
- a broken bone in the shoulder
- Frozen shoulder is caused by the tendons, ligaments, and muscles getting too stiff.
- Damage to the spine
- Shoulder out of place
- Shoulder pain can also be caused by diseases, like problems with the cervical spine in the neck or the liver, heart, or gallbladder.
Signs and Symptoms of Shoulder Pain
In addition to pain, one may have the following symptoms:
- The shoulder is difficult to move.
- Sensitivity around the joint
Prevention of Shoulder Pain
- If you have had any shoulder injuries in the past, it is a good idea to do some simple exercises to keep your shoulder muscles, and tendons stretched. This will help avoid getting a frozen shoulder or having the injury happen again.
- If you have shoulder issues, it is a good idea to massage your shoulders with an ice compress after your regular workouts.
- Drinking warm lemon water can help prevent pain in your shoulder and other body parts. The lemon water will help keep the mineral deposits from building up and causing pain.
When to See a Doctor
If your shoulder pain interferes with your daily activities, it may be a good idea to see a doctor. Additionally, if the pain worsens when you move your shoulder a little, you should see an orthopedic specialist.
If the pain and discomfort continue even after you get a lot of rest and care for yourself, or if it worsens, you should go to a doctor for help.
Some worrisome symptoms that need immediate medical attention are:
- An arm that gets so debilitated that it is impossible to carry even light objects.
- A severe injury that deforms a joint
- Shoulder ache that occurs during sleeping or resting.
- Shoulder soreness lasting more than a few days
- Loss of arm movement, including difficulty in elevating the arm
- Joint or arm swelling or bruising that is readily apparent.
- Infection symptoms, such as fever, skin redness, and warmth
- Abdominal discomfort
- Labored respiration
It’s essential to know the signs of a heart attack. If you experience any sudden shoulder pain that isn’t caused by an injury, seek emergency medical help right away.
Natural Treatment for Shoulder Pain Relief
You can manage or even treat minor shoulder pain at home. Several remedies and simple exercises can help eliminate the pain and keep you safe from getting it again.
However, if the symptoms seem to be getting worse, it is advisable to consult a doctor.
Here are some at-home treatments for shoulder discomfort.
1. Cold Compression
Cold compresses can help relieve shoulder pain. The cold temperature numbs the area, which reduces inflammation and pain.
- Wrap a plastic bag containing ice cubes with a thin cloth.
- Apply the compress to the affected region for 10 to 15 minutes.
- After two hours, reapply the compress to the swollen area.
- Continue until the inflammation and soreness subside.
- Soaking a towel in cold water and putting it to the painful shoulder may also provide relief.
2. Hot Compress
Hot compresses help treat shoulder pain, inflammation, and swelling. This is just like how cold compresses help.
You can ease the pain when you hurt yourself with a hot compress. Hot compresses help the muscles relax. It is best to use them 48 hours after the injury happens.
- If you have shoulder pain, fill a hot water bag with hot water and apply it to the area for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat multiple times per day until the pain subsides.
- You can also run warm to slightly hot water on your shoulder for 5 to 10 minutes. Try to remain still when your shoulder is exposed to the calming water stream.
- Additionally, there are two daily hot showers.
3. Compression and Elevation
The Arthritis Foundation says that compression and elevation can help reduce shoulder pain and swelling, especially if the problem is associated with arthritis.
Compression helps to reduce swelling by putting even pressure on the area. A compression wrap gives your shoulder enough support, so you feel comfortable.
Elevation can help promote blood flow to the affected area, which allows for the healing process.
- You can reduce the swelling and pain by wrapping the area with an elastic bandage or a warm wrap. These are easy to find at pharmacies. Wrap the area for a few days or until the pain and swelling disappear.
- To facilitate recovery, keep your shoulder elevated with the use of pillows.
Massages are an excellent way to relieve shoulder pain. Massages help your shoulder muscles release stress and tension. They also improve blood circulation and reduce swelling and stiffness.
Massage therapy is an excellent way to get short-term and long-term relief from shoulder pain. A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science looked at 15 studies on the matter and found that massage therapy helped reduce shoulder pain.
You can also get someone to give your shoulder a massage. To massage, olive, coconut, sesame, or mustard oil will work fine.
- Take a 10-minute hot bath or shower before the massage to loosen up your muscles.
- Warm the oil slightly and apply it to the shoulder.
- Gently squeeze the shoulder muscles to relieve pain. Applying pressure will help with blood flow.
- Massage the affected area for about 10 minutes. Then, put a warm towel on the area to get the best results.
- Perform massage therapy several times per day until the pain has subsided.
- If massaging the wounded area worsens your agony, you should stop.
- 5. Exercise
Exercising the shoulder can help to treat shoulder pain. Exercise will help to restore joint movement and reduce pain.
Stretching and strengthening exercises are good for you in many ways. Stretching exercises help to lengthen your muscles, which in turn promotes flexibility and proper mobility. Strengthening exercises are also effective in helping you build muscle strength.
A study published in 2003 reports that shoulder stretching and strengthening exercises can help reduce shoulder symptoms and improve function.
Another study published in 2018 suggests that adding a shoulder strengthening program to your daily routine may help reduce shoulder pain.
Physical activity has been shown to alleviate shoulder discomfort caused by both injury and cancer therapy.
There are many ways to stretch, but one of the most effective is described below.
- Stand up straight and raise your shoulders. Before moving on, stay in this position for at least five seconds.
- To do a basic shoulder squeeze, press your shoulder blades together and hold for 5 seconds.
- Pull your shoulder blades down and keep them there for 5 seconds.
- Repeat this stretching technique for ten minutes while remaining calm.
- Perform this action three or four times every day.
- Another exercise that can help with shoulder pain is the “shoulder rolls” exercise. To do this exercise:
- Place your feet either close together or slightly apart.
- While straightening your back, lift your chest lightly.
- Raise your shoulders to your ears and begin making little circles by rolling your shoulders forward, down, and backward in a gentle manner.
- Breathe while doing 5 to 10 forward circles.
- Take a few seconds, and then rotate your shoulders counterclockwise.
- Perform this workout four or five times every day.
6. Acupressure and Acupuncture
Acupuncture and acupressure are traditional Chinese treatments that can help relieve pain and improve shoulder function.
Acupuncture is when a therapist uses thin needles to apply pressure to specific points. This can help ease the pain. Acupressure is when someone applies pressure to the same points without the needles.
A study from 2015 published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases shows that acupuncture may help treat shoulder pain. This is a good alternative for patients who regularly experience the adverse effects of traditional drugs. But additional research is required to support these findings.
Some acupressure points can help relieve shoulder pain. These points are LI 15, LI 16, SI 9, SI 10, SI 11, and SI 12. Make sure to get acupressure and acupuncture done by an expert for the best results.
You can treat shoulder pain and make it less painful in a few ways. First, resting the affected area can help a lot. Keeping your pain-ridden shoulder free from undue exertion is an important prerequisite to reducing pain and inflammation. However, complete joint immobilization can be detrimental to a healthy recovery.
Some experts recommend active rest when you have shoulder pain. This means you shouldn’t lift heavy things or move your shoulder often.
According to a 2005 research published in the BMJ, rotator cuff diseases should be treated with relative shoulder rest.
If you are experiencing shoulder pain, try reducing or stopping the activities that worsen the pain. However, you should still move your shoulder gently. This is important so that your shoulder muscles stay strong and flexible.
8. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for muscle function. If you don’t have enough vitamin D, you might experience muscle pain and cramps.
A low vitamin D level can stop calcium from reaching the skeleton. This is why increasing vitamin D intake may help people who have shoulder pain.
A 2011 study in the Journal of Neuroscience found that taking extra vitamin D can help stop muscle pain.
Another study, published in the Journal of Inflammation Research in 2016, found that vitamin D helps with bone and muscle healing. However, additional research is required to determine what impact vitamin D plays in the health and recovery of skeletal tendons.
- Vitamin D is best acquired when you get some direct sun exposure. This is preferably early in the morning when the sunlight is at its clearest. Try to be outside for about 10 minutes.
- Numerous excellent sources of vitamin D. Examples include fatty fish, egg yolks, and vitamin D-fortified foods. Vitamin D can also be found in dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.
- You can also take a supplement, but only after consulting your doctor.
Ginger has properties that reduce pain and inflammation. This means that it can be helpful for shoulder pain or any other kind of pain.
A 2011 study published in Pain Medicine shows ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties. This may reduce the subjective experience of pain in some conditions, such as osteoarthritis.
This also helps improve blood circulation, which in turn promotes quick healing.
- Consume two to three cups of ginger tea daily. To prepare the tea, simmer 1 tablespoon of sliced ginger in 1-1/2 to 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid, add honey, and consume.
- You can massage your shoulder with ginger and olive oil twice daily.
- You can also take ginger supplements after discussing them with your doctor.
Turmeric is an excellent remedy to relieve pain in your shoulder. The curcumin in turmeric has properties that help reduce pain and swelling.
A study published in the journal Foods in 2017 highlights the benefit of curcumin in inflammatory conditions and its role in reducing pain.
- To form a paste, combine 2 teaspoons turmeric powder with 1 or more tablespoons coconut oil. Apply this paste to the aching muscles, then allow it to dry. Rinse the substance with warm water. Repeat twice each day until the pain has subsided.
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder should be added to 1 cup of milk.
- Boil the mixture and sweeten it with honey. Drink it twice a day to help promote healing from within.
- You can also take turmeric pills three times per day. Consult your physician to determine the correct dosage for you.
User Suggested Remedies
1. Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt, made of magnesium sulfate, can help reduce shoulder pain. Magnesium sulfate enhances blood flow and relaxes overworked shoulder muscles. It also helps to reduce stress throughout the body.
- Fill your bathtub with warm or tolerably hot water.
- Add 2 cups of Epsom salt and stir thoroughly.
- Soak in this water with your shoulder submerged for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Do this up to 3 times a week.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
When treating shoulder pain, apple cider vinegar can be helpful. It has anti-inflammatory and alkalizing properties that can help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Add 2 cups of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a bathtub of warm water. Soak in this water for 20 to 30 minutes. Enjoy this relaxing bath once every day for a few days.
- You can drink a glass of warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and a little honey twice daily to help promote quick recovery.
3. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is an essential oil that can relax tired muscles and help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Whether you take a hot or warm bath, put a few drops of lavender essential oil in the water. Soak your entire body in this soothing bath for 30 minutes. Do this once daily to help relax your sore shoulder muscles.
- If you are feeling sick, drink a glass of warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and a little honey twice daily to help you feel better quickly.
- Maintain good posture to help your shoulder muscles heal quickly.
- When you are experiencing shoulder pain, keep your elbow at your side to give your shoulder a break.
- You can even try some simple neck stretching exercises to treat the problem.
- Use a thick pillow to sleep to support your neck and shoulder.
- You can also apply a gel with capsaicin to the affected area to reduce pain.
- Do not smoke or use other tobacco products because they can slow healing.
Frequently Asked Questions About Home Remedies for Shoulder Pain
What Is the Main Cause of Shoulder Pain?
The most common cause of shoulder pain is rotator cuff tendinitis. This happens when the tendons that help you move your arm become inflamed or trapped.
Is Ginger Good for Shoulder Pain?
The study found that raw and heat-treated ginger reduced muscle pain by 25% and 23%, respectively. Researchers say that previous animal studies have shown ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, which might help explain its beneficial effects on muscle pain.
What Cream Is Best for Shoulder Pain?
If you have pain in your shoulder, Voltaren Emulgel may help. This gel can help with the relief of localized traumatic inflammation and pain. Shoulders are a common place for injuries, like sprains and strains, and painful stiffness called frozen shoulder.
What Pressure Point Relieves Shoulder Pain?
This acupoint is located halfway between the top of the neck and shoulder. It may help ease neck and shoulder stiffness, pain, and headaches.
Can COVID Cause Neck and Shoulder Pain?
After being unwell with coronavirus, some people have reported having shoulder and back problems. However, other joint and muscle problems can occur anywhere in the body. Some people have experienced widespread aching that comes and goes for some time as they recover.
How Can Long Shoulder Pain Last?
It usually takes four to six weeks to recover from mild shoulder pain. There are some things you can do to help ease the pain. See the list below for what these include.
Is Turmeric Good for Shoulder Pain?
You may have heard that people take turmeric to help with their joints. That is because turmeric has been said to have anti-inflammatory properties. This means it helps reduce inflammation and swelling around the affected joint, which may help relieve some pain.
Is Heat Good for Shoulder Pain?
You should ice an injured shoulder for at least 72 hours or until the swelling goes down. You can use heat for tight or tense shoulders, but be careful not to use it on any swollen areas.
Is Milk Good for Shoulder Pain?
Dairy contains a high protein level that can trigger inflammation and joint pain. This type of protein may even contribute to irritation around the joints.