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Practical Guide to Relieving Shoulder Pain from Home

As an Operating CEO and physiotherapist with years of experience, I deeply understand the physical challenges many of you face in your daily jobs. Heavy-duty work not only demands a lot from our bodies but can also lead to injuries if proper precautions are not taken. Today, I want to talk to you about a very common and relevant issue for our community: shoulder pain.

Reasons for Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is one of the most mobile and complex joints in our body, making it especially vulnerable to injuries. Some of the most common causes of shoulder pain include:

  • Soft tissue injuries: These can be the result of repetitive movements or overuse, very common in jobs that require continuous physical effort.
  • Rotator cuff tears: This is a particularly common injury among those who perform lifting or rotating arm movements. It can be acute due to a specific incident or chronic due to wear and tear over time.
  • Sprains and strains: These injuries can occur when making a sudden or unusual movement, something that is not uncommon in dynamic work environments.
  • Neck pain and pinched nerve issues: Although these problems originate in the neck, the pain can radiate to the shoulder, causing discomfort and limited movement.

How to further prevent injury?

It’s crucial that, at the first sign of pain or discomfort, steps are taken to prevent further injuries. Some recommendations include:

  • Maintain good posture: This is essential, especially during long work hours.
  • Apply ice and heat: This can help relieve pain and inflammation after a long day.
  • Perform specific stretches: Maintaining shoulder flexibility and mobility can prevent many injuries.
  • Rest adequately: The body needs time to recover from daily physical stress.

How to treat shoulder pain at home

Here are 2 exercises I assign to my patients in the clinic, and precisely their simplicity and ease of execution have allowed them to significantly regain mobility and relieve their shoulder pain.

How to alleviate pain with other complementary exercises

It’s crucial to consider simple and safe exercises that can be done at home to aid in shoulder recovery. These exercises are designed to improve mobility, strengthen the shoulder muscles, and relieve pain.

However, I always recommend consulting a healthcare professional before starting any exercise routine, especially if you’re recovering from an injury. Here are some exercises that, as part of your recovery, you can do in the comfort of your home:

  1. Pendulum
    Lean on a table or chair with the unaffected hand.
    Let the injured arm hang loosely at your side.
    Gently move the injured arm in small circles in the air. Perform the movement using your body, not the shoulder.
    Make 10 circles in one direction and then switch to the opposite direction.
  2. Towel Stretch
    You’ll need a small towel or an elastic band for this exercise.
    Hold the towel behind your back with both hands, one above and the other below, keeping the towel taut.
    Use the good hand to gently pull the injured arm upwards to stretch it. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
    Repeat 2-3 times.
  3. External Rotations
    Lie on your side on a flat surface, keeping the injured arm on top.
    Bend the elbow of the top arm to 90 degrees, keeping the elbow close to your body.
    Keeping the elbow in place, slowly rotate the arm upwards as far as comfortable.
    Return to the starting position in a controlled manner.
    Perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.
  4. Front Raises
    You can use a can of food or a small water bottle as weight for this exercise.
    Hold the weight in the hand of the injured arm. Keeping your arm straight, lift the arm forward and upward, up to shoulder height.
    Lower the arm in a controlled manner.
    Perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions..
  5. Lateral Raises
    Similar to front raises, but this time lift your arm to the side, up to shoulder height.
    Keep your arm straight throughout the movement. Perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions. Remember to do the exercises gently and in a controlled manner, without forcing the movement.
    If you feel pain at any time, stop the exercise. Consistency is key to recovery, but so is listening to your body and not overdoing it.

With dedication and patience, these exercises can help you on your journey towards shoulder recovery. I’m always here to support you in your recovery and wellness process.

Can shoulder pain be related to heart problems?

Of course, it’s important to recognize that, although less common, shoulder pain can be an indicator of heart problems in some cases. As your trusted physical therapist, I want to make sure you’re informed about all possible causes of shoulder pain, including those that may require immediate medical attention.

The human body is a complex network where different systems are interconnected. Sometimes, pain does not manifest directly in the affected area. For example, a heart problem, like a heart attack, can cause referred pain in the shoulder. This phenomenon occurs because the nerves coming from the heart and those in the shoulder share similar pathways on their way to the brain, which can confuse the body into “thinking” the pain is coming from the shoulder when, in reality, the source is the heart.

Additionally, conditions like angina, which is a type of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart, can also manifest as shoulder pain. In these cases, shoulder pain is usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest, neck, or jaw pain

It’s crucial that, in the presence of these additional symptoms, especially if the shoulder pain arises suddenly and can’t be attributed to a recent injury or physical exertion, you seek immediate medical attention. These could be signs of a serious heart condition that requires urgent treatment.

If you have any concerns about your health, especially if you experience shoulder pain along with other symptoms that worry you, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. Together, we can ensure you receive the care and attention you need.

Do you need professional advice for your pain?

At our physical therapy practice, we are committed to providing you with the care and support you need to stay healthy and pain-free. If you are experiencing shoulder pain or any other work-related discomfort, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Together, we can work towards a full recovery and make sure you have the tools and knowledge to prevent future injuries. You can book your initial assessment here.

shoulder pain

Remember, taking care of your physical health is essential to being able to continue giving your best every day. We’re here to support you every step of the way.

Best regards,
Fredy Espin, COO

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