Orthopedic Services and
When it comes to treating your shoulder problem, there
are a number of options. Your physician will counsel you on
the best solution for your situation.
Start with RICE
Here are steps to take when you first have shoulder pain,
commonly called RICE.
- Rest — Relax or stop using the
injured area for 48 hours
- Ice — Put an ice pack on the
injured area for 20 minutes at a time, 4 to 8 times per
day. Use a cold pack, ice bag, plastic bag filled with
crushed ice, or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel.
(Never put ice directly on the affected area.)
- Compression — Compression may help
reduce the swelling. Compress the area with elastic
- Elevation — Keep the injured area
elevated above the level of your heart. You can use a
pillow to help elevate the shoulder
If pain and stiffness continue, call your doctor.
Use pain medications
When you have a shoulder problem, pain is a constant
reminder that something is wrong. Over-the-counter or
prescription pain medication may help your symptoms. The
pain medications usually are combined with substances that
reduce inflammation (anti-inflammatory).
If pain persists or is
severe, call your doctor.
Get moving with physical therapy
Physical therapy involves activities to restore your
shoulder's mobility and reduce pain. A physical therapist is
a key member of your medical team, and will be involved in
all phases of your shoulder's rehabilitation. Physical
therapy may be a good solution to your shoulder problem. If
your condition doesn't improve after a period of treatment,
however, your physician may recommend surgery. Physical
therapy will continue to be an integral part of your
recovery after surgical treatment.
The diagnosis and treatment of shoulder problems have
improved greatly over the past decade. Today's
is less traumatic to the body, enabling you to scar less,
heal faster, and recover more quickly.