Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment specialist Home Care pain and inflammation warning signs Prevention Underlying Cause Anatomy

Shoulder Pain (one shoulder) Home Care

Home care for shoulder pain includes:

  • Apply cold compresses:
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 4 hours, for the first few days.
  • Apply warm compresses:
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 4 hours, after 2 days
  • Rest:
    • Wear a sling as directed.
    • Long term immobilization in a sling can lead to frozen shoulder.
    • If you wear a shoulder sling for longer than two weeks make sure you perform shoulder range of motion exercises twice a day to avoid frozen shoulder.
  • Perform shoulder stretching exercises:
    • As directed by your doctor
  • Apply nonprescription pain rubs:
    • ArthriCare
    • Arthritis Pain Relieving Rub
    • Aspercreme
    • Ben-Gay
    • Capzasin-HP
    • Sportscreme
  • Acetaminophen for pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
  • Take prescribed medications as directed:
    • Don't skip doses of your medication. This makes them less effective.
    • Be aware of the common side effects that may be caused by your medication.

Shoulder Pain (one shoulder) Pain and Inflammation

Medications commonly used to control pain and inflammation in adults with shoulder pain include:


Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.

Aspirin

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Ketoprofen

NSAID Precautions

Shoulder Pain (one shoulder) Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have shoulder pain and any of the following:

Continue to Shoulder Pain (one shoulder) Prevention

Last Updated: Jan 4, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Shoulder Pain (one shoulder) References
  1. Cobiella CE. Shoulder pain in sports. Hosp Med. 2004 Nov;65(11):652-6. [15566056]
  2. Ginn KA, Cohen ML. Conservative treatment for shoulder pain: prognostic indicators of outcome. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2004 Aug;85(8):1231-5. [15295745]
  3. Green S, Buchbinder R, Hetrick S. Acupuncture for shoulder pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 Apr 18;(2):CD005319. [15846753]
  4. Hanchard NC, Howe TE, Gilbert MM. Diagnosis of shoulder pain by history and selective tissue tension: agreement between assessors. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2005 Mar;35(3):147-53. [15839308]
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