Shoulder Sprain Treatment
Initial treatment for a shoulder sprain includes rest, a sling, cold compresses, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. Additional treatment for a severe shoulder sprain may include physical therapy and shoulder surgery.
Treatment options for shoulder sprain include:
- Avoid activities that cause pain
- 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
- Aspirin for pain
- 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
- Physical therapy for shoulder sprain
- Exercises to maintain shoulder range of motion and muscle strength
- Occupational therapy
- Surgery for shoulder sprain
- To repair torn ligaments in an injury that results in instability or dysfunction.
For more information:
Shoulder Sprain Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of shoulder sprain.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- Will I need surgery?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- 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:
- Do I need to change my diet?
- 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 sprain again?
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
Shoulder Sprain Specialist
Continue to Shoulder Sprain Home Care
- Altchek DW, Levinson M. Shoulder injury in the throwing athlete. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2000 Nov ;11(4):745-54. 
- Moynes DR. Prevention of injury to the shoulder through exercises and therapy. Clin Sports Med. 1983 Jul;2(2):413-22. 
- Wollman S. Patient education series. Sprains and strains. Nursing. 2003 Sep;33(9):47.