Shoulder pain can be highly debilitating and limit you greatly in your daily activities. While some shoulder injuries may require surgery, there are several non-surgical treatment options that have been shown to be effective for improving shoulder pain.

As you would with other types of injuries, try to rest the affected shoulder and to use an ice pack to reduce any potential swelling or inflammation in the first couple of days after the injury. After this, if the pain still remains, see your doctor or a sports medicine expert or physical therapist as soon as possible since early intervention is always associated with better treatment outcomes.

Physical Therapy and Massage Therapy

A physical therapist can work with you on an individual basis to create an exercise program that is tailored specifically to your personal needs. This may include stretches and using light weights as well as heat and cold therapy. Massage therapy may also help reduce the pain, especially if the pain is caused by damaged or tense muscles.


For chronic or long-lasting shoulder pain, there are several different exercises that may help. Resistance training will help you improve the strength and flexibility of your shoulders, which in turn will help future injuries from occurring. Exercises for reducing shoulder pain are not necessarily targeting the shoulders per se but may also include targeting your back and hips as these muscles all balance each other.

Medical Interventions

There are several different medical treatments that may help reduce the pain, at least temporarily. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, are a popular option for relatively mild pain; and oral or topical steroids may be prescribed in more serious cases.

Other types of medical interventions include cortisone injections, which can aid in reducing the pain and inflammation of the shoulder for a longer period than what can be achieved using oral medications.

In recent years, the use of natural remedies to treat pain and other ailments has rapidly increased in popularity. Various herbs and products have been suggested to reduce inflammation and pain, although there is currently very limited scientific evidence supporting these claims. However, as long as you use alternative medicine as an additional treatment rather than your main treatment, it is possible that they may indeed help to some degree.

None of these medical or alternative treatments will treat the underlying cause of the pain, and if the pain does not go away by itself within a few days, make sure to contact a physical therapist or sports medicine physician sooner rather than later.

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