A shoulder sprain is an injury to the ligaments in the shoulder, which can cause pain and limited mobility. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to treat your sprained shoulder and help it heal properly.
Read on to learn about six care tips for your sprained shoulder:
Seek immediate medical attention
If you’ve hurt your shoulder and aren’t sure if it’s sprained, your first step should be to see a doctor. They can determine the extent of the damage and advise you on how to treat it. Shoulder discomfort, whether severe or reassuring, should never be ignored. Delaying therapy from a chiropractor might result in additional damage, pain, and possibly persistent problems. Always err on the side of caution. Minor injuries are best treated in the doctor’s office rather than ignored, which can lead to more significant complications.
Use cold and heat packs
In addition to reducing swelling, the numbing effect of an ice pack on your sprained shoulder may assist in alleviating the discomfort you’re experiencing. Apply cryotherapy to your shoulder up to five times daily, but for no more than 20 minutes at a time. A heating pad can also help loosen up stiff shoulder muscles. The increased blood flow from applying heat to your shoulder may also aid healing.
Rest your shoulder
Until your shoulder sprain heals, you should refrain from exercising and use your arm as little as possible. However, you shouldn’t fully restrict your shoulder’s range of motion. To maintain strong and flexible shoulder muscles, make little movements, such as back and forth or up and down, every day. A sling could be helpful if you wish to limit the range of motion in your arm. As a bonus, having your arm supported by the sling can relieve strain on your shoulder.
Do some light stretches
Gently stretching may help strengthen your shoulder and speed up the healing process. Before beginning any new workout or stretching regimen, however, a consultation with a medical professional is strongly recommended. A sprain could get worse if you don’t take care. Spread your arms wide and stand in an open doorway to warm up your muscles. Lean on the door until you feel a gentle stretch, then grab the edges with both hands at or below shoulder height. Hold your spine in a neutral position while you lean forward and put more weight on your toes. The front of your shoulder should feel like it’s being stretched. On the other hand, avoid going into extreme stretches.
Compress the shoulder
Applying pressure on your shoulder with a medical bandage will help reduce swelling. You won’t be able to move as freely, so your sprain won’t get worse by accident. Wrapping your shoulder, however, requires caution. Constricting blood flow is painful and perhaps harmful, so be careful not to make it too tight. A shoulder brace may provide you with extra convenience and comfort.
Get the right medication
Never take any drug without consulting your doctor, even if they have prescribed it. They should be consulted before using any over-the-counter medications because drug interactions can have serious consequences. However, anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil or aspirin should help alleviate the pain and swelling. If your doctor has given you the green light to take the medication, always read and follow the dosing instructions carefully.
You should still monitor your sprain even though you’ve seen a doctor. You shouldn’t wait to get in touch with them again if the problem persists or worsens. You should seek medical attention if the swelling or pain persists or worsens. After a week, if you haven’t felt better, it’s time to get some professional assistance.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.