Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Risk Factors Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor specialist Home Care pain in adults pain in children warning signs Prevention Outlook Complications Underlying Cause Anatomy

Shoulder Sprain Home Care

Home care for shoulder sprain includes:

  • Apply cold compresses:
    • Wrap ice in a moist hand towel. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
    • 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 the shoulder:
    • Wear a sling.
    • 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.
    • Physical therapy will play a major role in avoiding frozen shoulder.
  • Perform exercises for shoulder sprain:
    • As directed by your doctor
  • 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.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:

Shoulder Sprain Pain in Adults

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

  • 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.





NSAID Precautions

Shoulder Sprain Pain in Children

Common medications used at home for pain in children with a shoulder sprain include:

Aspirin and most of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not used in children except under a doctor's care.

  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Dosing is 10-15 mg per kilogram (5-7 mg per pound) of body weight every 4-6 hours, up to the adult dose.
  • Do not exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Acetaminophen products come in various strengths. Always follow the package instructions.
  • Avoid this drug in children with liver disease or an allergy to acetaminophen.
  • Common acetaminophen products include Tylenol, Panadol and many others.



Shoulder Sprain Warning Signs

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

Continue to Shoulder Sprain 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 Sprain References
  1. Altchek DW, Levinson M. Shoulder injury in the throwing athlete. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2000 Nov ;11(4):745-54. [11092016]
  2. Moynes DR. Prevention of injury to the shoulder through exercises and therapy. Clin Sports Med. 1983 Jul;2(2):413-22. [969764]
  3. Wollman S. Patient education series. Sprains and strains. Nursing. 2003 Sep;33(9):47. [14501515]
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