Orthopedic Institute Blog

6 Tips for Reversing Your Shoulder Pain

Posted on December 31, 2017


Shoulder pain—for many of us it's just a fact of life. But when it's keeping you from enjoying your daily activities, it may be time to try some useful remedies.

Try out some of these options for reversing shoulder pain.


If you have soreness in your shoulder that you suspect was brought on from exercise or physical activity, an inflammation or swelling may have occurred. One way to reduce mild, exercise-related shoulder pain is through stretches. These may include chest expansions by meeting your hands behind your back or across-the-chest stretches, bringing your arm across your chest and pulling your elbow toward it with your spare hand. These are exercises that should be recommended by someone who specializes in functional assessment, such as a physical therapist or athletic trainer.

Sleep Differently

One common cause of shoulder pain, particularly when it's experienced first thing in the morning, is sleeping habits. A potential way to reduce this pain is to try out a new sleeping position. If you favor one side over the other, it might be an indication of where your pain is coming from. Use pillows or remove pillows to determine the best amount of cushion to avoid pain if you favor sleeping on your back or stomach. According to our experts, it's best to sleep on your back with your hands below chest height. AVOID SLEEPING ON YOUR STOMACH. This can cause even more shoulder pain when you wake up.

Diversify Your Exercises

Another frequent reason for shoulder pain is found in athletes or otherwise physically fit people—especially when they tend to exercise or engage in sports with highly repetitive shoulder movements. The best way to combat this is to keep your regimen diverse. Select a variety of exercises that don't put undue strain on your shoulders as compared to the workout your other joints are receiving.

Try Massage 

Massage therapy can very often be beneficial for shoulder pain, because it can release muscle tension and increase range of motion in the joint - which in turn can improve function and help reduce pain. Best of all, you can give yourself a neck and shoulder massage almost anywhere and at anytime for temporary relief. If you still feel stiff and sore, talk to your doctor about other therapy options. 

Apply Heat or Cold

Just like when you're nursing an injury, applying heat or cold can go a long way toward reversing your shoulder pain. Use heat to soothe stiff joints and relax muscles after a strain or when recovering from an injury. Ice packs are typically used to numb sharp pain and reduce inflammation immediately following an injury. Whichever option you need, remember to protect your skin - and only apply the hot or cold therapy as directed. 

Obtain Physical Therapy

There's perhaps no better way to reverse your shoulder pain, particularly when it's ongoing or chronic, than being seen by a physical therapist or orthopedic physician. It's the best way to determine if your condition is diagnosable and how best to treat it.  Contacting Orthopedic Institute for an appointment is a good place to start.

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