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Treatments for Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is a common problem that can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes pain can stem from an injury or fall, repetitive motion, degenerative conditions such as arthritis, and even exercise.  If the pain becomes chronic, it can become difficult for you to accomplish even the simplest of tasks, such as brushing your hair, putting on a belt or carrying groceries.

There are various conditions of the shoulder that require different levels of treatment. These include arthritis, rotator cuff tears, impingement syndrome, frozen shoulder, tendinitis, and muscle pulls and sprains.

If your shoulder pain persists for more than two weeks, it is best to see an orthopedic surgeon for an evaluation and treatment. The type of treatment will be based on the underlying cause of the pain: Mild arthritis may only require physical therapy or pain-relief injections or over-the-counter medications, but severe and chronic shoulder pain may require surgery.

How Can I Treat My Shoulder Pain?

Let’s take a look at the various ways to treat shoulder pain.


The simplest way to start treating mild shoulder pain is through rest. If the pain was caused by a repetitive-motion injury, try to determine the precise aggravating movement – and use an alternate motion instead. If this does not help to reduce your pain, see an orthopedist for professional treatment that works.

Anti-Inflammatory Medicine

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation in the shoulder joint. Some over-the-counter NSAID medicines include aspirin, ibuprofen acetaminophen, and naproxen. You can also try a pain patch or pain relief creams.  If the pain persists for more than two weeks despite pain-relief medication and rest, seek medical attention by a shoulder specialist.

Heat or Ice Application

Icing the shoulder can help reduce the pain. Wrap an ice pack in a towel, and hold it against your shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes about four times a day. Be sure not to overdo it, because too much ice treatment can result in frostbite.

You may also opt to use a heat compress to relax the tension and stiffness in the shoulder. Similarly, be sure that the compress is not too hot; it shouldn’t be hotter than 120 degrees.

Movement Exercises

>Physical therapy can help reduce and even prevent pain in your shoulders. A physical therapist can show you some beneficial stretches and exercises to help relieve your shoulder pain.

Don’t rely on non-personalized advice such as from shoulder-pain websites, because some exercises could actually do harm to your shoulder in your particular case. Your orthopedist will know what will work best to alleviate your pain.

Corticosteroid Injections

Pain-relief injections are designed to provide immediate and direct relief from inflammation in a painful joint – especially the shoulder, knee, or elbow. Corticosteroid injections are particularly helpful in treating inflammatory arthritis and pain due to shoulder injury, including overuse injury.

Shoulder Surgery

Shoulder arthroscopy allows your doctor to check the inside of your joint without making a large cut. This procedure is done to alleviate pain by removing loose bone fragments, damaged cartilage, or inflamed joint lining in the shoulder.

If the joint damage is causing persistent shoulder pain, and other methods have not worked, then you may need to have a full shoulder replacement. Shoulder arthroplasty involves removing the damaged shoulder joint and replacing it with prosthetic materials that will make your shoulder work normally again, and with much less pain or no pain at all.

Arthroscopy can be performed on an outpatient basis. As long as you have no adverse reactions during or after the surgery, so you may be able to go home on the same day of the surgery. Shoulder Replacement does require a hospital stay.

Shoulder Pain Treatment in Delray Beach, Florida

If shoulder pain is interfering with your normal daily activities, seek immediate medical care by a skilled orthopedic physician. The doctor will be able to determine the exact cause of your pain and will recommend a treatment plan.

Dr. Steve Meadows of South Palm Orthopedics is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in upper extremity treatments and surgery. He offers different treatment methods for shoulder pain and injuries, and he will work with you to find the solution that lessens your pain.

Contact our friendly team today by calling us at (561) 496-6622, or you may request an appointment now via our easy-to-use online appointment form. Let us help ease your shoulder pain so you can get back to the active lifestyle you love!

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South Palm Orthopedics
4800 Linton Blvd., Building A
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Delray Beach, FL 33445
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