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Shoulder Pain - Expert Advice for Easing Pain

Image of individual at a beautiful golf course watching his drive after a shoulder-pain-free golf swing.

Have you ever started to get an annoying pain in your shoulder blade, or began to experience stiffness or tightness in your neck?

Perhaps you notice this when you're reaching up, when your'e doing work around the house, throwing a ball for the dog or picking up your children or grand children?

At Doylestown Sports Medicine Center, we saw a dramatic rise in patients visiting us with should pain since the warmer weather, then not warm weather, then warm again (it's Pennsylvania weather- a pain with no cure).

With our active summer-selves returning back to heightened physical activity, we're still seeing a lot of patients visiting us with shoulder and neck problems. In this blog, we'll unpack helpful tips and expert advice to hopefully help you ease your shoulder pain and have a more active and comfortable spring and summer.

Shoulder Pain

Image of a male individual holding this shoulders with a graphical overlay displaying the shoulders, shoulder blades and red around the irritated area.

When we talk about shoulder pain, we're typically talking about the pain that appears as aches across the upper back; starting at the bottom of the rib cage, up to the top of the shoulders, (and sometimes) into the neck and base of the skull.

If issues with your shoulders are severe, the pain in your neck can lead to frequent and severe headaches.

Some individuals might experience pain only in their right shoulder, left shoulder or both. If you notice only one side is painful, then this could indicate that your body has developed some compensations. Compensations can cause tightness and stiffness and create pressure or stress on just one side of your body.

What Causes Pain Between the Shoulder Blades?

In most typical settings we see (so not anything crazy like: "I got hit by a stray dodgeball"), the reason for shoulder pain is the way we lean. Leaning over a desk, driving for long period of time or really any activity where your upper body is hunched over and stuck in that position for hours at a time can result in pain between the shoulder blades.

Image of a woman in 4 seated postures, Slouched, forward head, at attention, and properly with a red line tracing the woman's spinal posture.

As a result, this puts pressure on the muscles which connect to the shoulder blade, causing discomfort or pain in the shoulder join when raising your arm above your head or reaching behind you.

Easing Shoulder Pain

To ease shoulder pain, you don't have to resort to painkiller or simply "put up with it."

There are several natural and powerful ways to decrease pain such as:

  • Using ice packs (or frozen peas wrapped in a kitchen cloth) on the painful area for a period of 15 minutes at a time, before allowing your skin to return back to normal temperature before repeating.

  • Using heat packs (or hot water bottle) on the area for a period of 15 minutes at a time, before allowing your skin to return to a normal temperature before repeating.

  • Keeping active and avoiding long period of inactivity (which can lead to muscles becoming tight and joints becoming stiff).

  • Performing relevant mobilization exercises for your pain.

Example Exercise for Helping Ease Shoulder Pain

For people who sit for extended periods of time, either at a desk or when driving, performing shoulder circles as explained below can be an effective way to avoid muscles becoming overworked and allowing discomfort to set in.

Shoulder Circles

  1. Raise the shoulders upwards.

  2. Squeeze the shoulder blades back together in the center of your back.

  3. Hold for 5 seconds.

  4. Slowly lower the shoulder.

  5. Repeat for around 1 minute before resting.

This exercise works the muscles between the rib cage and spine which (when strong) allow proper movement of the shoulder and takes the pressure off the shoulder joint(s). By doing this, the risk of "pinched" nerves is decrease (a major contributor to pain).

To help make sure your shoulder pain relief lasts, try to minimize the amount of time you spend hunching over by bringing you shoulders back and down.

Natural Ways to Ease Shoulder Pain

Whether you're looking to return to the golf course, getting back to your favorite exercise classes or simply being able to enjoy a weekend of fun with family, physical therapy can be a great tool for easing your pain and getting back to what you love to do.

However, we know that there are still some people who may be unsure if physical therapy is right for them (or even how it works).

To help people, potentially like you, who want to finally take control of their shoulder and neck pain so they can sleep better, feel happier and make the most of their free time with their loved ones, we offer free discovery visits which give you the opportunity to find out more about how we can help you.

So if you're...

  • Confused about how to ease your shoulder or neck pain.

  • Experiencing a disruption in your sleep because of your neck or shoulder pain.

  • Frustrated that your primary care doctor only advises you to rest and "see what it's like in six weeks."

  • Starting to feel the prolonged effects of over the counter pain relievers to suppress regular aches and pains.

Contact Doylestown Sports Medicine Center! We are ready and waiting to help great people in Bucks County, so get in contact today!

Click here to arrange your free discovery visit with one of our friendly and knowledgable team members who can help remove your confusion, anxiety and give you optimism that you can get better.

Other Free Resources by Doylestown Sports Medicine Center

Image of Doylestown Sports Medicine Center's free shoulder pain report, "7 Practical Techniques to Relieve Agonizing Shoulder Pain from Ruining Your Day."

Doylestown Sports Medicine Center and its clinical team have written a free downloadable report for anyone who is suffering with shoulder pain and wants to know...

7 Practical Techniques to Relieve Agonizing Shoulder Pain From Ruining Your Day.

Click or tap the button below to download your free shoulder pain report now!


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