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How to Manage Shoulder Pain

Experiencing shoulder pain can be debilitating and impact daily life, but that doesn’t mean you have to give in and hope for the best.


Here's a guide on how to work through it, focusing on symptom management, exercise, and seeking professional help.

  1. Understand the Pain: Not all shoulder pain is the same. It can range from a dull ache to a sharp, stabbing sensation, and can be constant or intermittent. Understanding your pain helps determine the best approach.

  2. Pain Management: Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce inflammation and pain. Heat or cold therapy can also offer relief. Remember, it's critical not to push through severe pain, as this might exacerbate the problem.

  3. Rest and Support: Your body needs time to heal. Rest your shoulder, avoiding movements that aggravate the pain. When necessary, use a shoulder sling for support to immobilize the joint, relieving pressure and aiding recovery.

  4. Gradual Exercise: Gentle shoulder exercises can help restore range of motion, strengthen muscles, and improve flexibility. Start with simple exercises like shoulder rolls or arm circles. As strength improves, advance to resistance training using bands or light weights.

  5. Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can guide you through specific exercises tailored to your condition. They can also teach you correct posture to prevent future injury.

  6. Mind-Body Techniques: Mindfulness meditation, yoga, and other mind-body techniques can help manage pain, reduce stress, and improve your emotional response to pain.

Along with the above, take a strong look at your diet. You may be consuming food that is causing inflammation and exacerbating the problem.


While shoulder pain can be a hindrance, it doesn't have to control your life. With a combination of self-care, professional help, and lifestyle modifications, you can work through shoulder pain and regain your mobility and quality of life.


Jennifer Ferdinand, owner of Serendipity Wellness Studio in Burke, VA, has been practicing massage therapy and esthetics since 2006. She is nationally certified through NCBTMB, and licensed in Virginia for both Massage Therapy and Esthetics.

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