Let’s talk about shoulder pain, the one thing that gets on most people’s nerves because they don’t know what to do about it and think it’s just something they have to get on with day in, day out.
Meet Neil for example - Neil’s a long-standing patient of mine, and as a painter and decorator his job involves a mixture of heavy lifting to get around objects and standing on ladders at awkward angles to reach difficult spots on the walls.
A few months ago Neil came to us with daily, irritating pain in his left shoulder and couldn’t understand why all of a sudden this pain could come on just from painting! And it’s true. No one likes to believe it, but even a simple activity like painting (that you’d never think could cause an injury), can bring on shoulder pain.
Before coming in to see us Neil’s left shoulder hadn’t felt right for weeks. After the initial pain came on, he tried to get around it by switching up his job and painting with his right hand instead of his left, but all of the detailed trim and edge work could only be done with his left hand – which meant he had to grit his teeth and get on with it…
But even with the reduced workload, Neil’s shoulder was still in agony, which meant he had to take two whole weeks off work – which isn’t great when you’re self-employed!
So what happened to Neil? Something called ‘repetitive strain injury’ – this happens when a part of the body is overused while working in the wrong posture. Symptoms often include: Aches and pains, stiffness, throbbing, weakness and cramp.
At first you might only notice this kind of injury when you’re carrying out a particular task over and over again – in Neil’s case, painting. But if you don’t do something to ease the pain as soon as you feel it, it can end up lasting longer, cause swelling and can even stop you from going about your day and sleeping peacefully at night.
Any of this sound familiar? If like Neil, you’re suffering from ANY aches of pains in your shoulder area, then the good news is I’ve given you some quick and easy tips that you can do to help ease it right away:
First - Use ice (…not heat) to stop pain. Ice by far is the best, (and quickest way) to ease shoulder pain. My tip for you would be to apply ice as soon as you feel a slight twinge, or even a hint of shoulder pain coming on, and to apply it whenever you’re feeling achy or painful – such as at the end of a very long day.
Apply an ice pack for 10 minutes at a time – little and often, every hour.
Next, use heat to ease stiffness. Just like ice, heat can also help to treat shoulder pain, inflammation and swelling. When to use it? I tell my patients to apply a hot water bottle on a morning when your shoulder is likely to be feeling more stiff than painful. Again, 10 minutes should do it.
And lastly, sleep with one soft pillow.
This is a great tip you can start using as soon as tonight.
It might be difficult at first, especially if you’re used to sleeping with more than one pillow. But if you can persist and get into the habit of sleeping on one soft pillow instead, it will lower the amount of stretching and tension it brings to your neck and shoulder area.
Shoulder tension and pain can be made worse by spending 8 hours every night in the wrong position. Drop down to just one soft pillow and you will notice a huge difference.
These are just a few of the ways to ease shoulder pain as soon as it strikes, if you’d like more ways on how to ease your shoulder pain, I’ve put together a free tips report just for you. Visit my website here to claim your free copy instantly: http://www.paulgoughphysio.com/neck-shoulder-pain