Treatment options for pain relief
We went through different causes of shoulder pain when lifting the arm. For each one, you can try a set of remedies and treatments. Others are common for all shoulder pain causes, especially those treatments to control pain symptoms. So, let us start by going through the most common treatments to relieve shoulder pain, which is almost the same regardless of the diagnosis:
A) Physical therapy:
Physical therapy and rehabilitation are fundamental, especially when the cause of shoulder pain is due to chronic disease. When you go to a physical therapist, he will check your range of motion and muscle strength and elaborate a plan accordingly to treat your problem.
This type of rehabilitation is used to help you regain strength and range of motion in your arm. It consists of passive and active motion exercises that stimulate your muscles and help you strengthen your articulation. They also help with flexibility and improve the range of motion. Altogether, these exercises may reduce the pain you feel progressively.
B) Oral therapy with NSAIDs:
This is the most common treatment you will find in a doctor’s office. This is because it is a quick and easy way to reduce pain and inflammation.
If you take these medications as instructed, you will be able to get rid of pain, reduce inflammation, and improve your range of motion. You may have heard about the risks associated with using NSAIDs. They are also known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is true that they can cause stomach ulcers and heartburn. However, you can prevent these problems by taking the proper dosage and following the instructions on the label.
These medications are very effective in reducing pain when it is associated with inflammation, and one of the reasons why everyone uses them is that you can take them orally, but they can also be administered intravenously if your symptoms are more severe. Talk to your doctor before taking them if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and use them only for short periods of time.
C) Intraarticular injections:
These injections are used to treat the inflammation and damage in the shoulder joint and act more rapidly and for a more extended period than NSAIDs. They are usually given to relieve the pain and improve the shoulder function in patients with more severe symptoms that do not improve with oral treatment.
It should be administered by a doctor with experience in this type of treatment because it is much more complex than an intramuscular application. In this case, sometimes doctors prefer to administer intraarticular injections with an ultrasound scan to make sure they are reaching the exact spot where the drug should be injected. They will give you the correct injection to relieve your shoulder pain, which can include only one drug or a combination.
It is usually a corticosteroid, but recent studies show promising results using hyaluronic acid and platelet-rich plasma to improve joint function.
D) Temperature therapy:
A cold compress or ice pack is an excellent way to reduce the pain, and that’s true for almost every type of joint pain, including shoulder symptoms. It can be applied directly to the painful area but using a towel or cloth before applying the ice pack. It is one of the best ways to treat shoulder pain because it is inexpensive and very safe, easy to do, and free.
Depending on your symptoms, you can use either cold or hot temperatures. Cold temperatures will work better if your problem is more likely to be inflammation. Warm temperatures will be best if you want to relieve muscle tension and increase the blood flow to the area. The best way to warm your shoulder is by taking a hot bath. It relaxes the muscles and helps the shoulder to heal. You can also soak in a warm shower or soak in a hot tub.