Note: For severe and chronic shoulder pain, consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Shoulder pain may occur in any of the many muscles, ligaments or tendons in and around your shoulder. Once your shoulder starts hurting, it can be hard to concentrate on anything else.
People of all ages can experience shoulder pain. However, people who use laptops, tablets and smartphones for extended periods are more prone to this problem.
A number of factors and conditions can contribute to shoulder pain. The most prevalent cause is injury to the soft tissues, including the muscles, tendons and ligaments within the shoulder.This could be due to repetitive use or overuse injury.
Sometimes, the pain is due to some kind of injury to the neck or bicep. Other causes of shoulder pain include arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, bone spurs, torn cartilage, a broken shoulder bone, frozen shoulder and spinal cord injury.
Certain diseases can also cause shoulder pain, such as diseases of the cervical spine in the neck as well as liver, heart or gallbladder disease.
In addition to pain, one may experience symptoms like swelling and difficulty moving the shoulder and tenderness around the joint.
You can treat minor shoulder pain at home. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor if the symptoms seem to be worsening.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for shoulder pain.
1. Cold Compress
Cold compresses are highly beneficial in alleviating shoulder pain. The cold temperature helps numb the area, which in turn reduces inflammation and pain.
- Put some ice cubes in a plastic bag and wrap the bag in a thin towel.
- Place it on the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Repeat a few times daily for a few days.
You can also soak a towel in cold water and apply it on the shoulder.
Note: Do not place ice directly on the skin. It can cause frostbite.
2. Hot Compress
Just like cold compresses, hot compresses also help treat shoulder pain, inflammation and swelling. It is best to use hot compresses after 48 hours of the injury occurring. Hot compresses also help relieve the pain of stressed out muscles.
- Fill a hot water bag with hot water and apply it on the aching shoulder for 10 to 15 minutes while you lie down comfortably. Repeat a few times a day until you get complete relief.
- Also, you can stand in the shower and run warm to slightly hot water on your shoulder for 5 to 10 minutes. Try to stand still for this time. You can enjoy a hot shower twice daily.
Compression means putting even pressure on the painful area to help reduce the swelling. A compression wrap will give ample support to your shoulder and make you feel more comfortable.
You can compress the affected area with an elastic bandage or a warm wrap, which you can easily buy from the market. Wrap the affected area for a few days or until the pain and swelling are gone. Also, keep your shoulder elevated with the help of pillows to promote healing.
Note: Avoid wrapping it too tightly, which can lead to poor circulation and worsen the condition.
4. Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt, made up of magnesium sulfate, can help reduce shoulder pain. It helps improve blood circulation and relax stressed shoulder muscles. It also helps relieve stress from the entire 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.
Massage is another good way to reduce shoulder pain. A gentle massage will help your shoulder muscles release stress and tension. In addition, it will improve blood circulation and reduce swelling and stiffness.
Get the massage done by someone who can do a good massage to your shoulder. For massaging, you can use olive, coconut, sesame or mustard oil.
- Warm the oil slightly and apply it on the shoulder.
- Gently squeeze the shoulder muscles and apply pressure as well to relieve pain and encourage blood flow.
- Massage for about 10 minutes, then put a warm towel on the affected area for best results.
- Do massage therapy a few times daily until the pain subsides.
Note: Do not massage the injured area if it causes pain.
Turmeric is a good remedy to relieve pain in your shoulder. The curcumin in turmeric contains antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce pain and swelling.
- Make a paste by mixing 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder and 1 or more tablespoons of coconut oil. Rub this paste over the sore muscles and let it dry. Rinse it off with warm water. Repeat twice daily until the pain is gone.
- Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to 1 cup of milk and boil it. Sweeten with honey and drink it twice daily to promote healing.
- You can also take 250 to 500 mg turmeric capsules up to 3 times daily. Consult your doctor for the correct dosage.
Note: Avoid excessive intake of turmeric if you take blood-thinning medicine.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
When it comes to treating shoulder pain, another effective household ingredient is apple cider vinegar. It has anti-inflammatory as well as 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 daily for a few days.
- You can also drink a glass of warm water mixed with 1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and a little honey twice daily for a week to promote quick recovery.
Ginger contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce pain and inflammation of any kind, including shoulder pain. In addition, it improves blood circulation that promotes quick healing.
- Drink 2 to 3 cups of ginger tea daily. To make the tea, simmer 1 tablespoon of thinly sliced ginger in 1½ to 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain, add honey and drink it.
- You can also take ginger supplements after consulting your doctor.
9. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is an excellent essential oil that can relax tired muscles. This aids in reducing pain as well as inflammation.
- Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to hot or warm bathwater. Soak your entire body in this soothing bath for 30 minutes. Do this once daily to relax your sore shoulder muscles.
- Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil in 1 to 2 tablespoons of warm olive oil. Use it to massage the tense and aching shoulder muscles for 10 minutes, twice daily for a few days.
Alfalfa is another herbal remedy that can relieve pain and swelling. It ensures smooth blood flow throughout the body, in turn reducing inflammation and swelling.
- Drink 1 or 2 cups of warm alfalfa tea for a few days to treat shoulder pain. To make the tea, add 1 teaspoon of dried alfalfa leaves to a cup of hot water. Steep for 5 minutes, strain and drink it.
- You can also take alfalfa supplements, but consult your doctor first.
- Rest the affected area as much as possible for a few days to promote healing.
- Keep the affected area elevated with the help of a few pillows to reduce swelling and pain.
- Maintain good posture to help your shoulder muscles heal quickly.
- When experiencing shoulder pain, keep your elbow at your side in order to give your shoulder a break.
- You can even try some simple neck stretching exercises to treat the problem.
- Use a thicker pillow while sleeping to give enough support to your neck and shoulder.
- Try acupressure or acupuncture for quick recovery.
- Practice some light stretching exercises for the area to treat shoulder pain. You can use a number of different stretching methods. If unsure, consult an expert.
- Drink a few glasses of warm lemon water daily to prevent mineral deposits in the joints that can cause pain in your shoulder and other body parts.
- You can even apply a gel containing 0.0125 percent capsaicin topically on the affected area to reduce pain.
- Do not smoke or use other tobacco products, as they can slow down the healing process.