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Published on August 28, 2020

3 Things to Do When Your Shoulder Is Hurting

3 Things to Do When Your Shoulder is HurtingShoulder pain is a common complaint that can sideline daily activities. While you should seek immediate attention for acute traumatic injuries – such as shoulder injuries caused by a car wreck or by a fall, especially if you can’t raise or move an arm – Jesse Chandler, MD, a Greensboro orthopedic surgeon and member of the Cone Health Medical and Dental Staff, offers 3 tips for addressing everyday shoulder pain.

First, try to identify the cause of your pain. Did you overuse or strain your shoulder? Was there a specific event that caused the pain? Dr. Chandler says new exercise routines like weight training or serving a tennis ball too many times can often be the culprit. Repetitive motions like reaching overhead to paint a ceiling can also be the cause. In these cases, rest your shoulder and avoid the movement that caused the pain to help your shoulder recover more quickly.

Second, most shoulder pain is caused to some degree by inflammation.

“You can use ice compresses on the shoulder or over-the-counter medications like naproxen sodium or ibuprofen for pain and swelling,” says Dr. Chandler.

Third, take a few minutes to stretch your shoulder every day.

“Sometimes a sore shoulder may be caused by one area being particularly tight, and stretching can really help,” advises Dr. Chandler.

For disabling or persisting shoulder pain, make an appointment. An in-office evaluation will help determine if you need further diagnostic tests, such as a scan, or if a cortisone shot or physical therapy may help.

About the Author

Jesse Chandler, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon in Greensboro, NC.