Let’s talk about shoulder pain, and the most common cause most shoulder injuries share in common – overuse.
Now when it comes to aches and pains there are just two ways that bring them on.
Number one, you can have an accident – With an accident you know exactly the moment it happens as there’s an incident that happens that’s usually accompanied by a pain that makes you want to yell and curl up into a ball – for example you could have a fall or have a collision.
We call this type of pain – acute pain.
Number two is related to something you’re doing that causes annoying, persistent pain that just won’t go away – this is the most common one we see here in the clinic, and we call this chronic pain.
Chronic shoulder pain is identified as pain that’s always there. It’s the reason you go to grab your shoulder after lifting something heavy or when you go to reach for something in the back of the cupboard, and isn’t always put down to one particular movement or activity. Those who have this type of shoulder pain often feel doomed, as if they were just plagued with bad shoulders.
But here’s the thing, there’s simple ways to ease it, and to help fix it!
Let me tell you a quick story about a patient we saw a few weeks ago…
Martin, 46 from Hart, came to us after struggling with chronic shoulder pain for a whole three months…
Martin plays Cricket at a high level, so having to put up with shoulder pain every day was beginning to affect his performance and get in the way of his weekly training sessions – not good when he had pre-season training coming up!
After a few weeks of hands-on physio with massage and personalised exercises, Martin returned to cricket gaining a position in the first team for his club’s upcoming games!
But even if you’re not involved in a sport like Martin, this doesn’t mean chronic shoulder pain like this isn’t happening to you (or won’t either)…
This same type of shoulder pain can be caused by all sorts of things – ironing, painting, a job where you have to lift heavy objects, and even from sitting hunched over at a desk all day.
So what can you do about it if it’s happening to you (or if it suddenly comes on)?
Well firstly I want you to know that ‘overuse’ doesn’t specifically mean doing an activity ‘too much’ (so I’m sorry to say it, but something like ironing isn’t the culprit of your bad shoulder!). Overuse actually means doing an activity the ‘wrong way’ too much.
Let me explain…
In Martin’s case he was performing a shoulder exercise in the gym to enhance his Cricket skills in the wrong position – which we discovered was causing his shoulder pain in the first place!
But gym and exercises aside, it could just be that you could have weak muscles in your arms, back and shoudlers, poor posture when sitting and standing, or you could have even spent most of your life sleeping in an awkward, twisted position!
Whatever it is, all of these things can be the culprit of nagging shoulder pain.
So let’s look at some ways you can ease irritating, daily shoulder pain that disturbs your sleep and gets in the way of almost everything you do…
Use Ice And Heat
Whenever you’re feeling achy or painful, such as at the end of a very busy day, ice is by far the best way to ease the pain. Apply an ice pack for ten minutes or so, little but very often every hour.
And when to use heat? When you wake up in the morning the muscles are likely to be a little stiff and cold from not moving all night, applying a hot water bottle will help you move your shoulder with more ease. Again ten minutes should do it.
How Do You Sleep?
How many pillows do you sleep with? Two, or one?
If you’re used to sleeping with two pillows this one may feel a little strange at first but in the long run, it’ll do your shoulders a world of good.
Sleeping with one pillow lowers the amount of stretching and tension that happens in your neck and shoulders at night.
Drop down to just one soft pillow and you’ll notice a difference.
Hands On Physio
And lastly, if you’ve been putting up with the pain for several weeks now, (even months), getting some hands-on treatment is going to help ease the pain fast. In fact there isn’t a faster way to ease shoulder pain than by going to see a Physio…
Physio will be able to soothe and relax tight aching muscles, as well as give you personalised exercises that will help strengthen your muscles and make sure your posture is perfectly aligned.
Combine all these tips along with a trip to see a Physio, and you will feel a dramatic drop in the pain you’re currently suffering from.
If you’d like more quick tips like this to help ease shoulder pain, visit my website where you can download my free tips guide instantly: http://www.paulgoughphysio.com/neck-shoulder-pain