Although shoulder pain is not life threatening it does cause discomfort and disability. It can also last for a long time.
There are three common causes of shoulder pain. These involve the ligaments, tendons, or bursae. The ligaments connect one bone to another while tendons connect bone to muscle. The bursae are small fluid-filled sacs located at the joints.
Inflammation of the bursae is called bursitis and begins with uneasiness in the shoulder which accelerates to pain within six to twelve hours. There may also be some swelling at the tip of the shoulder.
When the tendons are affected, you have what is called rotator cuff tendinitis. The tendons and muscles around the shoulder are irritated but there is no swelling and the pain occurs only in certain positions.
If the pain is located at the front of the shoulder, you may have bicep tendinitis. This is the least common of shoulder problems unless one plays baseball or racket sports.
All of these can be treated at home and the treatment plan is the same for all three. When you first notice trouble, apply ice for thirty minutes. Then let your shoulder warm again for 15 minutes. Repeat this cycle for one to two hours.
Let your shoulder rest for at least twenty-four to forty-eight hours. When you have to move around you can use a sling. Over the counter pain medicine can be used to alleviate pain and decrease inflammation.
After the rest period begin exercise to stretch and strengthen the shoulder muscle. At first, just put your arm through a full range of motion. Then try your exercises with light weights (one pound to one and a half pounds). Every ten days, increase the weight by one half pound.
After exercising, apply ice to your shoulder. The exercise is important as complete immobilization of your arm can cause stiffness, which results in loss of motion in the shoulder or 'frozen shoulder.'
If after six weeks, your shoulder has not recovered you should seek medical help. Also, wait six weeks before doing the activity that caused the problem.
There are some shoulder problems that require immediate medical attention. Although shoulder infections are rare, if fever, swelling or redness are present, you do need medical help.
Also, collarbones are vulnerable to frequent fracture. When this happens, you will notice swelling over the collarbone and may not be able to raise your arm on that side. Your shoulders may appear uneven.
If you can not move your arm at all and the pain is very severe, definitely consult with your doctor before attempting home treatment.
You should also consult your doctor is the pain is not the result of playing sports or some physical activity, which involved your shoulder.
Severe fractures and dislocations can cause deformity, severe pain and limited movement however dislocations are rare. It is safe to use home treatment for strains and sprains. However, before beginning any home treatment you need to be sure that your problem will respond to treatment and is not one of the common causes.