6 Home Remedies for Shoulder Pain

How to Get Rid of Pain from Pulled Muscle in Shoulder 

Shoulder pain can have many causes. There are many ways to try to help.  Shoulder injuries are common from daily activities in everyday life. A pulled muscle in the shoulder can cause shoulder pain. Reaching overhead, lifting a suitcase, and putting on a seatbelt are all activities that may cause discomfort if you have a shoulder injury. The quick answer on how to get rid of shoulder pain is do these 6 home remedies:

  1. Anti-inflammatory Medications if you are able to take these medications
  2. Heat with a heating pad or hot pack.  Always have a layer in-between the pad and your skin.
  3. Ice for 15 to 20 minutes
  4. Salt Bathing is shown to help decrease swelling and pain
  5. Stretching within the limits of your pain and postural awareness. 
  6. Massage of the injured area can help reduce spasms and pain. 

What are Common Causes of Shoulder Pain?

The most common causes of shoulder pain are Rotator Cuff issues. A rotator cuff is a muscle group that helps to hold the ball and socket shoulder joint together.  They also help control the movements in the shoulder. The small rotator cuff muscles can become irritated.  This can produce tendonitis.  

Pulled muscle in shoulder JOIShoulder Pain 

What are the 6 Home Remedies for Shoulder Pain?

1. Over the counter Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDs. There are two major generic types of NSAIDs: Ibuprofen and Naproxen. 

Both used to be by prescription and are relatively safe to use per their labels. Brand names include Advil (for Ibuprofen) and Aleve (for naproxen). Use only if approved by your physician.

2. Apply heat to your shoulder. A mild hot shower can accomplish this on your shoulder for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Often patients have shoulder pain from sleeping.  A good hot shower can certainly help with this pain.  Or you can use an electric heating pad. If using the electric heating pad, set on medium heat, not high heat level.  Always check your skin to make to avoid burning your skin. 

Research shows us that our bodies respond to medium heat levels better than intense heat levels. Also, microwave pellets or “rice bags” work well at home.  Again, check your skin to make sure the heat is not causing a burn. 

Be careful not to apply heat to an acute or recent injury. Check out this article to understand the difference between heat and ice

Read about home remedies for shoulder pain. Help for pulled muscle in shoulder. A shoulder injury from the workout.

3. Apply ice to your shoulder. A cold pack inside a pillowcase for ten minutes can certainly help your shoulder. Ice massage is also an option. Ice should not be left in direct contact with the skin for over 5 minutes due to the possibility of frostbite.

4. Stretches. Stretching the muscles that encompass the shoulder joint can help with your pain. Muscles capable of moving freely through your shoulder's natural motion will not have the constant stress that tight muscles experience.  Flexibility can also be important to prevent further injuries. 

5. Salt Bath. This is definitely “old school” but has some recent merit on television with Dr. Oz. Fill a bathtub with warm water and add Epsom salts.  Soak the injured shoulder for 10 to 15 minutes. The benefits of the bath are to stimulate circulation, easing muscle cramps, help to relieve stiffness in joints and soothing achy, overworked legs and feet. Don't use a salt bath if you have an open wound, have an allergic reaction like a rash or hives, or you have a skin infection.

Soak immersed in the tub for 10 to 15 minutes. The salts are soothing to the skin and very relaxing. You can also add essential oils to the bath as well.

6. Massage. Get a family member to knead your sore muscles.  If you are very independent, find a sock and a tennis ball. Put a tennis ball inside a sock. Place the sock and ball at the back of your shoulder where it is sore. Now, against a wall, apply pressure to the tennis ball, and roll around, thus giving yourself a massage. If that doesn't prove effective, you can look into visiting a massage therapist. 

Natural Cures of Inflammation

You can reduce inflammation in your body naturally through your diet. Some foods that naturally reduce inflammation are:

  • Olive Oil
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna
  • Tomatoes
  • Fruits like blueberries, strawberries, oranges, and cherries
  • Nuts, like walnuts and almonds
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and collards
  • Celery juice or beet juice
  • Herbs and spices such as ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, and turmeric

Adding these whole foods to your diet and cutting out processed foods will reduce inflammation in your body. Having a healthy balanced diet of whole foods, fats, carbs, and protein will boost your body's healing process.

You should limit your use of alcohol, sodas, and caffeine in excess of 2 cups per day.  Eliminate smoking and other tobacco products in your life.  Get plenty of rest and ease into an exercise routine that you enjoy.  Healthy habits such as walking, yoga, and Pilates are appropriate for all levels of stamina.

Essential oils can also be used for pain, tension and swelling. Essential oils are derived from therapeutic plants that have natural anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Peppermint oil
  • Marjoram oil
  • Lavender oil

Shoulder Pain Therapy

physical therapy may be a good option for pulled muscle in shoulder.Physical Therapy can Help with Shoulder Pain.

If home remedies do not help, physical therapy is the next option. Therapists concentrate on the flexibility of the shoulder and implement new exercises to improve mobility. There are multiple hands-on techniques to better the mobility of the joints to treat shoulder pain. In some cases, patients will undergo strength training as a way to treat their shoulder pain. Lastly, electrical modalities such as ultrasound, laser, and E-Stim (electric stimulation) may be used to remedy the pain. 

Other options to try in coordination with physical therapy are medical massage therapy and acupuncture. 

To learn why Shoulder Pain Can't Wait watch this VIDEO.

Shoulder Pain Specialist - Jacksonville

If you have shoulder pain, the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute has the answers!  JOI offers the area’s top orthopaedic shoulder specialists, and they are ready to help you.  We treatment options from physical therapy and sports medicine, all the way to the most advanced surgical treatment interventions.  Let JOI get you on the road to recovery!

Related Shoulder Articles: 

Rotator cuff repair

Rotator cuff tears

Types of shoulder surgery

Rotator cuff exercises

By: Julia Guthart, MOT, CHT, Occupational Therapist/Certified Hand Therapist 

To schedule an appointment with an Orthopedic Shoulder Specialist, please click below, schedule online, or call 904-JOI-2000.  To schedule for physical therapy at one of the 12 JOI Rehab Centers, please call 904-858-7045.

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