Home Remedies For Shoulder Pain

Our shoulder is one of the most flexible and also most overworked joint of our entire body. The shoulder is composed of 3 important bones, which includes the humerus or the bone of the upper arm, the clavicle or the collarbone, and the scapula or the shoulder blade.(1) As our shoulder is a flexible joint, there are a lot of conditions and factors which might result in shoulder pain; and the most prevalent one is the soft tissue injury, which includes the injury to the tendons, ligaments and the muscles present within the shoulder. Such injuries can occur because of overuse injury or repetitive use of the shoulder.

There are a lot of ways you can treat shoulder pain. If you have an issue of shoulder pain and want to know about some of the home remedies for the same, then read this current post where we have mentioned about some of the home remedies for shoulder pain.

Home Remedies For Shoulder Pain

Home Remedies for Shoulder Pain:

Alternative Treatments as Home Remedies for Shoulder Pain:

Hot Compress:

One of the best home remedies for shoulder pain is the hot compress. Hot compress is known to treat shoulder pain, swelling, and inflammation.(2) However, it is best for using hot compresses at least after 48 hours of the injury or the pain. It also assists in relieving the pain occurring from tense muscles.

For using this as a home remedy for shoulder pain, you need to use a hot water bag. Filling the bag with hot water and applying it on the painful shoulders for 15 minutes and repeating the same a few times in a day would help you get relief from the pain in some days. Apart from this, you can even run slightly hot water on your shoulder for at least 10 minutes or enjoy a hot shower twice in a day until the shoulder pain goes away.

Cold Compress:

One more effective home remedy for shoulder pain is the cold compress. They are greatly helpful in alleviating the pain in your shoulders. The cold temperature actually helps in numbing the area, which ultimately reduces the pain and inflammation.(3)

For using cold compress as a home remedy for shoulder pain, you need to put some ice cubes in a plastic bag and then use a towel to wrap it and then place it on your aching shoulder at least for 15 minutes. You need to keep doing this until the pain, or swelling subsides. You can, alternatively, soak a clean cloth in cold water and then apply it on the painful shoulder.

NOTE: Make sure not to put the ice directly on your skin, because it can lead to frostbite.

Massage Therapy:

One best way to reduce pain in the shoulder is a gentle massage. It helps your shoulder muscles to release stress and tension. Moreover, a gentle massage even improves the circulation of blood and reduces stiffness and swelling.

In a systematic review of 2017 and meta-analysis of 15 research studies which was published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, it was found by the researchers that massage therapy made a significant effect at reducing shoulder pain for short-term as well as long-term efficacy.(4)

You need to make use of olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, or mustard oil for massaging your shoulders. Make sure that you take a hot shower for at least 10-15 minutes before beginning the gentle massage. This helps in relaxing the tight shoulder muscles. For the massage, you need to slightly warm the massage oil and apply it on your shoulders. Gently squeeze your shoulder muscles and slightly apply pressure for relieving pain and enhancing the blood circulation. After massaging for 10 minutes, you need to place a warm towel on the affected area. This gets you the best results. You need to perform the massage therapy a few times in a day regularly until the pain subsides.

NOTE: Make a strict note not to massage the affected area if it aggravates the pain.

Compression and Elevation:

As per the Arthritis Foundation; both, compression as well as elevation can help in reducing shoulder pain as well as swelling in the shoulders, especially in case the problem is associated with arthritis.(5)

Putting even pressure on your affected or painful area so as to reduce the pain and swelling is known as compression. Compression is used for shoulder pain. A compression wrap actually offers you a great support to your shoulders and also makes you feel quite comfortable. You can also use an elastic bandage available at most pharmacies.

Wrapping it on the affected shoulders for some days would help you get relief from pain and swelling.

NOTE: DO not secure the wrap very tightly as it can cause poor blood circulation and can even worsen the painful condition.

Elevation, on the other hand assists in promoting proper flow of blood to your affected area, which, in turn, helps in faster recovery. For keeping your shoulders elevated, you can use pillows that would promote healing.

Acupressure and Acupuncture:

Acupressure and acupuncture, known to be the traditional Chinese treatments, are also effective and quite beneficial at relieving shoulder pain and also improving shoulder function.(6)

Acupressure is performed on some specific points where the pressure is applied, however, without any needle. But, in case of acupuncture, thin needles are used to apply pressure on specific points; which helps in easing shoulder pain.

Some acupressure points which might help you ease shoulder pain include, LI 15, LI 16, SI 9, SI 10, SI 11, SI 12.

NOTE: Make sure that you must always get your acupressure as well as acupuncture done by an expert. This would offer you best result.

Apply Garlic:

Applying garlic on the affected area would works as a great home remedy for shoulder pain. Garlic is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent.

You need to take 3-4 cloves of the garlic and remove the skin and mash them. Then after, you need to heat them in a quarter cup of mustard oil and apply the oil on the shoulder and gently massage the area. This helps in alleviating pain. You can, alternatively use plain garlic oil and massage the painful shoulder.

Apply Mint On Painful Shoulders:

One more home remedy for shoulder pain is mint. It is known that mint works as a cooling agent and also reduces the shoulder pain.

Simply crush few leaves of mint and add some water for making a paste put of it. Use this paste to apply on the affected shoulder to get enough relief from the shoulder pain.

Lavender Oil And Warm Water Bath:

Lavender oil in warm water also works as an effective home remedy for shoulder pain. The lavender oil can aid you in offering some kind of relaxation to the tired muscles and relieve shoulder pain and inflammation.

For using this remedy, simply fill the bathtub with warm or lukewarm water and add a few drops of the lavender oil to the water. Soak your shoulders in this water for at least 30 minutes to 60 minutes. Doing this once in a day for few days might get you relief from shoulder pain.

You can also alternatively, mix a few drops of lavender oil in about 2 tablespoon of warm olive oil and massage the same on your painful shoulders for about 10-15 minutes to relieve shoulder pain and stress. Doing this twice daily for few days can offer you some fair relief from the shoulder pain.

Epsom Salt And Lukewarm Water Bath:

Epsom salt can provide you enough relief from shoulder pain. This is because it improves the circulation of blood and also releases the stress from your painful shoulders as well as from the entire body.

For making use of this as a home remedy for shoulder pain, you need to fill your bathtub with lukewarm water and pour 2 cups of the Epsom salt to it and mix it thoroughly until the salt dissolves in water completely. Then, you need to sit in the bathtub by submerging the affected shoulders for at least 20-25 minutes. Repeating this thrice in a week would provide you positive results.

You can alternatively, also soak a clean cloth or towel in warm water along with Epsom salt and put this towel on the painful shoulder to get relief from shoulder pain.

Rest:

One of the best home remedy for shoulder pain or any other pain is REST. For treating shoulder pain and reducing any discomfort associated with it, you need to rest your affected area. You must keep the painful shoulder away from any kind of undue exertion. This helps in reducing inflammation, swelling or pain. However, make a note that you must not completely keep the shoulder joint immobile, as this can even be counterintuitive to the wholesome healing.

So, if you have shoulder pain, reduce or limit the activities that might make your pain even worse. However, always try and move your shoulder gently. This is essential because it keeps your shoulder muscles quite strong and also flexible.

Diet, Supplements and Drinks as Home Remedies For Shoulder Pain:

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is essential for the proper functioning of cartilage and the muscles. A lack of sufficient amount of Vitamin D in our body can result in general muscle cramps and muscle pain.

Moreover, a low level of vitamin D does not allow the calcium to reach our skeletal system. So, it is important to increase the intake of vitamin D which can benefit people who are experiencing shoulder pain.

You can acquire vitamin D from a direct exposure to the sunlight; especially in the early morning, for at least 10 minutes every day. In addition, you can also consume foods loaded with vitamin D, like the fatty fish, including tuna, salmon, and mackerel; egg yolks, and some vitamin D-fortified foods, such as dairy products, soy milk, orange juice, and cereals.

You can even choose taking a supplement of vitamin D. However, you must consult with your doctor about it.

Turmeric:

Turmeric is a good home remedy for shoulder pain. It contains curcumin in it that is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which assist in reducing shoulder pain and swelling as well.

A 2017 study that was published in the journal “Foods”, has mentioned about the benefits of curcumin in inflammatory conditions and also about its role in reducing the pain.(7)

For using this home remedy, you must prepare a paste out of 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder and 1 tablespoons of coconut oil. You just need to rub the paste on the sore muscles and allow it to dry. Then after, you have to rinse it off with lukewarm water. Repeating this twice regularly can help you reduce the pain.

You can also add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to one cup of milk and let it boil. Then add honey to sweeten the milk and drink it twice in a day, which would help in promoting the process of healing.

Apart from these, you can even take 250 mg- 500 mg of turmeric capsules, for up to thrice regularly. However; make sure that you consult with your doctor for the appropriate dosage.

NOTE: Make sure to avoid taking excessive amount of turmeric in case you are taking blood-thinners.

Ginger:

Ginger is known to have a tremendous amount of anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant properties and these properties are known to reduce any kind of pain as well as inflammation, including the shoulder pain.

A study, which was published in “Pain Medicine” during the year 2011, mentions about the anti-inflammatory role of the constituents of ginger, which might reduce pain in some conditions such as osteoarthritis.(8)

Apart from this, ginger also helps in improving the circulation of blood that enhances quick healing.

You can drink 2 or 3 cups of ginger tea regularly. For preparing this tea, simmer 1 tbs of sliced ginger in about ½ to 2 cups of water for at least 10 minutes. Then after, strain and add a little honey to sweeten it and drink it.

You can, alternatively, take ginger supplements. However, do consult with your doctor first.

Apple Cider Vinegar:

Apple cider vinegar or ACV is known to treat a lot of disorders in our body. It works as an excellent anti-inflammatory and alkaline agent for offering you relief from the pain.

For using apple cider vinegar as a home remedy, you can fill your bath tub with warm water and add 2 cups of raw and unfiltered ACV to it and then sit in the water for about 30 minutes so as to relax your body. Doing this regularly for some days can get you relief from shoulder pain.

You can alternatively mix one tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar in one glass of warm water and add a little honey to it. You need to drink this, twice in a day for enhancing the process of healing.

Lime and Honey:

Lime and honey can also work as a good home remedy for shoulder pain. This is in fact the best home remedy if the shoulder pain is because of arthritis.

To use this home remedy, simply add the juice of one lime in a glass of warm water and add honey for sweetening it. Drink this regularly so as to flush out the toxins from your body.

Black Sesame Seeds:

One more home remedy for shoulder pain is the black sesame seed. These seeds are packed with a rich amount of calcium as well as magnesium, which improves the bone health. Moreover, there is also a presence of minerals such as zinc and copper, which helps in reducing swelling and joint pain.

You need to take a handful of these seeds and soak them in water overnight and then consume the seeds with water in the next morning. Doing this for a few days can give you desired results.

You can also roast these black sesame seeds and sprinkle them of soups, yogurt, or salad.

Home Remedies for Shoulder Pain: Exercises

Exercises can also act as a wonderful home remedy for shoulder pain. For treating shoulder pain you need to perform exercises which target your shoulders. Exercises restore the movement of joints and reduce pain and inflammation.

Stretching and strengthening exercises are known to be effective at treating shoulder pain and improving the mobility and flexibility of the painful joints.

It is found that exercise not only alleviates shoulder pain related to injury or muscle strain, but also provides you relief from shoulder pain occurring due to the treatment of breast cancer.(9)

Many a times, shoulder pain also occurs because of the muscle stiffness. This is the result of incorrect standing or sitting position for a long period of time. For treating such shoulder pain, you must try out stretches or exercises for shoulder pain. Below we have mentioned some of the most effective exercises.

Chest Expansion:

Chest expansion is one of the best exercises that work efficiently at treating shoulder pain.

For doing this exercise, you might make use of a rope, an exercise band, or a strap. Put the band, rope or strap behind your back and hold it in both the hands. Lift up the chin while drawing your shoulder blades towards one another. Breathe deeply and release deeply for about 15 seconds. Repeat this 3-5 times.

Seated Twist:

Seated twist is another exercise for treating shoulder pain. For performing this exercise, sit on a chair straightly by keeping both your knees joined together. Move your torso towards your right while placing the left hand on the exterior of the right thigh. Look towards the right and relax the shoulders while pushing the right thigh gently.

Take a deep breath for about 15 seconds and release. Repeat the same with the left hand. Do this 3-5 times.

Arm-Across-Chest Stretch:

This is a simple stretching exercise that can help you in relaxing the stressed or painful muscles quite easily.

For performing this stretch, you need to put the right arm in, your front just near your waist. Hold your elbow of the outstretched hand with your left hand and try to pull it inwards, until you start feeling the stress on your shoulder. Keep it there at least for 30 seconds and relax. Repeat the same with the left arm. Do this 3-5 times for best results.

90, 90- Shoulder Twist:

This is another exercise that helps in treating shoulder pain.

For doing this, you require to stand in a doorway. Hold your arms up such that your elbow forms a 90-degree angle and the arm remain at 90 degree angle from your body. Place both the hands on both sides of the doorframe. While standing straight and, keeping your neck properly aligned with your spine, place one of your foot forward. Now, lean forward so as to brace yourself against the doorframe. You need to hold this position for about 30 seconds. Do this twice or thrice.

Neck Release:

At times shoulder pain occurs because of a stress in the neck. Neck release exercise helps in relieving the neck stress, and this in turn, helps in treating shoulder pain.

For doing this, sit straight on a chair and slowly move your chin towards the chest until you feel a kind of stretch at the back side of your neck. Lean the head towards your right, so as to stretch your left shoulder and lean your head towards the left for stretching your right shoulder. Make sure you are holding each of the stretch for at least 1 minute. To relax, take a deep breath. Repeat this 3-5 times.

Dos and Don’ts for Home Remedies For Shoulder Pain:

Dos:

  • Do put a pillow below the neck when you are sleeping. This would elevate the affected or painful shoulders and prevent any further pain or swelling.
  • Make sure you stand and sit in a correct posture so as to have a quicker healing.
  • Do follow the effective home remedies.
  • Do take the required amount of rest for a faster recovery from the shoulder pain.
  • Do keep your elbow by your side so as to offer rest to the painful shoulder.
  • Drink enough of water so as to prevent dehydration.
  • Do consult with your doctor in case your pain does not go away in a few days or if there is an intense shoulder pain.

Don’ts:

  • Make sure you do not smoke or quit smoking and taking alcohol. This is because they slow down the process of healing.
  • Do not go for intense exercise regime, in case you have shoulder pain.
  • Do not sit in the same position or posture for a long time. Make sure you keep stretching in intervals, in case you have a desk job.

Conclusion:

Above we talked about some of the home remedies for shoulder pain. If you have any problem of painful shoulders or if there is any swelling or inflammation of the shoulders you can try the remedies, however, make a strict note to visit a doctor in case the pain does not subside in a few days or if there is a severe shoulder pain or in case the home remedies do not work on your aching shoulders.

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