Shoulder Injury Treatment
The treatment for a shoulder injury depends on the type and severity of the injury. Initial treatment for a shoulder injury often includes wound care, rest, a sling, cold compresses, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. More severe pain may need to be treated with narcotic pain medications. Treatment for a severe shoulder injury may include surgery and physical therapy to restore shoulder mobility and muscle strength.
Treatment options for a shoulder injury include:
- Wound care
- Avoid activities that cause pain
- Sling for some injuries
- Shoulder immobilizer
- Long term immobilization in a sling can lead to frozen shoulder.
- If you wear a shoulder sling for longer than a week make sure you perform shoulder range of motion exercises twice a day to avoid frozen shoulder.
- Cold compresses
- Apply for 20 minutes at a time, 2 to 3 times per day
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, NeoProfen)
- Ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis, Oruvail)
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, Aleve)
- Narcotic pain medication:
- For moderate to severe pain
- For short term use only
- Tetanus immunization
- Required for some skin wounds
- Physical therapy for shoulder injury
- To preserve range of motion and improve muscle strength
- Occupational therapy
- Surgery for shoulder injury:
For more information:
Shoulder Injury Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of a shoulder injury.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- Will I need surgery?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- Do I need to stay in the hospital?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work?
- Do I need a special exercise program?
- Will I need physical therapy?
- Will I need occupational therapy?
- What else can I do to reduce my risk for having a shoulder injury again?
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
Shoulder Injury Specialist
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat a shoulder injury:
Continue to Shoulder Injury Home Care
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- Moynes DR. Prevention of injury to the shoulder through exercises and therapy. Clin Sports Med. 1983 Jul;2(2):413-22. 
- Safran MR. Nerve injury about the shoulder in athletes, part 1: suprascapular nerve and axillary nerve. Am J Sports Med. 2004 Apr-May;32(3):803-19. 
- Wollman S. Patient education series. Sprains and strains. Nursing. 2003 Sep;33(9):47.