Shoulder pain is one of the most common joint problems - no wonder, because the complex structure of the shoulder involves some bones as well as many muscles, tendons and ligaments. If their interaction is disturbed, shoulder pain occurs during exercise, exercise or even at rest.
A promising treatment depends principally on the cause - so you should always clarify persistent pain in the shoulder by a doctor. We have put together an overview of the treatment options for shoulder pain and give you tips on how to prevent pain in the shoulder.
Treat mild pain by yourself
If you feel pain in the shoulder after a "wrong" movement or an unfamiliar load - for example during fitness training - you should first cool and protect the affected side: Take a few days' training break and avoid "over the head". Work". Ointments with the active ingredient ibuprofen or diclofenac additionally have a cooling effect and can contribute to the relief of pain.
However, in the form of tablets you should not use analgesics for more than a few days without medical consultation. In case of severe pain, better consult a doctor to rule out serious injury to the shoulder - even if the pain persists for more than a week.
Physiotherapy against shoulder pain
Physiotherapy plays a major role in the treatment of shoulder pain. For many diseases of the shoulder joint physiotherapy is an indispensable part of the treatment. There are two reasons for this: On the one hand, shoulder pain can in many cases be alleviated by targeted strengthening of certain muscles - for example, in the case of damage to the rotator cuff.
On the other hand, the joint stiffens quickly when the shoulder is spared due to the pain. The result is a vicious circle of painful restriction of movement and increased protection. Therefore, early exercise exercises under physiotherapeutic guidance are important.
Medicines: Use painkillers carefully
For acute shoulder pain, the doctor often prescribes painkillers such as ibuprofen or diclofenac. Since these drugs also have anti-inflammatory effect, they can effectively relieve joint discomfort. However, they are purely symptomatic - so the cause of the pain is not eliminated. Therefore, they usually should not be taken permanently.
In addition, analgesics may favor the development of gastritis. So if you have a sensitive stomach, you should tell your doctor so that he may prescribe you an additional stomach protection - such as the active ingredient pantoprazole - prescribes.
Cortisone on "Frozen shoulder"
In a Frozen shoulder, an inflammation-related gluing of the joint capsule leads to severe pain and limited movement of the shoulder. In this case, treatment with cortisone in tablet form in conjunction with physiotherapy may relieve the symptoms. Because cortisone has a strong anti-inflammatory effect and can shorten the course of the disease.
Syringe in the shoulder
If the shoulder pain is due to inflammation or irritation in the joint area, injecting it into the joint can be an effective form of treatment. Usually, a mixture of cortisone and a local anesthetic is injected under the shoulder roof or directly into the shoulder joint.
The advantage here is that the cortisone - unlike with the intake of tablets - almost only affects the joint and is hardly absorbed into the blood. This reduces the risk of side effects - very rarely it comes to infections or an allergic reaction. In addition, the local anesthetic provides immediate pain relief, whereas the effect of cortisone can last up to three months.
An injection into the joint may be useful, for example, for the following causes of shoulder pain:
- "Frozen shoulder"
- Impingement Syndrome
- Housemaid's knee
- Acute thrust of osteoarthritis (activated arthrosis)
Operation dependent on individual risk
Surgery on the shoulder is rarely necessary - for example, a complicated upper arm fracture or a Schultereckgelenkschprengung. In all other cases, all non-surgical treatments are usually exhausted before surgery is considered.
Whether and when an operation makes sense, however, depends on the individual risk and the expected benefit in the individual case: For example, a young, physically active person is usually operated on rather than an older patient with various concomitant diseases.
"Keyhole technique" often possible
Operations on the shoulder can very often be performed by a joint mirroring (arthroscopy). Usually only two small cuts are necessary. With this "keyhole technique", for example, sutures can be sewn, adhesions can be loosened or a tightening of the joint capsule can be carried out. On the other hand, "open" surgery may be necessary if, for example, an artificial shoulder joint is inserted due to osteoarthritis.
Physical therapy for shoulder pain
For the complementary treatment of shoulder pain, physical therapy procedures may be used depending on the underlying cause. Physical forces such as heat, cold, mechanics or electricity should act on muscles, tendons and other tissues to relieve pain. Physical treatment methods include, for example:
- Cold therapy (cryotherapy)
- heat applications
- Shock Wave Therapy
- ultrasound therapy
- Manual therapy and chirotherapy
However, in the field of alternative and physical medicine there are often ineffective, but expensive treatment methods of dubious providers. Let your orthopedist advise you on which treatment method is best for treating your condition.
Prevent shoulder pain
Not all diseases of the shoulder can be avoided, but you can do something to ensure that your shoulder remains fit: With a few simple rules can shoulder pain, for example, caused by bad stress or poor posture, be prevented. We have some tips for you on what to do for shoulder pain:
- Pay attention to your posture: there is actually no "wrong" posture - it is important that you do not spend a long time in the same position. In the office, for example, you can take short breaks with stretching exercises or - if possible - alternate sitting and standing activities.
- Make sure you have an ergonomically designed workplace: If the height of the desk and office chair are adjusted to your size and the PC and keyboard distances are right, tension can be prevented.
- Let it be slow in strength training: Abrupt strains such as bench presses can cause pain in the shoulder. Make sure to warm up your muscles before training and avoid too much bodybuilding.
- Avoid bad loads: Spread heavy loads on both arms if possible - for example, by carrying a bag in each hand or using a backpack.
- Stay on the move: Those who regularly exercise, usually has a stronger overall musculature and more resilient tendons. For a start, it is enough if you incorporate exercise in your everyday life and use the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Strengthen your shoulder specifically: A strong shoulder belt stabilizes the shoulder joint and can effectively prevent shoulder discomfort. Have a trained fitness trainer or physiotherapist perform exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff.