Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain

You won’t find any medical advice on this site because I am not a medical professional in any way shape or form. But I can share my experience with shoulder pain and how I solved it:

When I was released from the acute rehab clinic at the hospital, the therapists repeatedly warned me to support the weight of my arm to take the strain off my shoulder. My arm was completely useless and hung like a wet noodle. It did not hurt at the time. The therapists urged me to wear a sling at all times and even use a tray on my wheelchair to support my arm. I did these things as instructed, but I overdid my exercises with elastic bands and paid a heavy price. I spent the next six months in agony. The pain was like a giant throbbing toothache that would not go away. Sleep was all but impossible.

The professionals use the term Subluxation. Basically, it means near or total dislocation of the shoulder joint.

Here are some of the remedies I tried, and that you might consider:

Thermophore MaxHeat Heating Pad: this super powerful device gives fast, drug-free relief for shoulder pain or any other body part. Here’s the link to my post about it: Thermophore MaxHeat.

Rocktape- this is a brand of physio- tape. It works by using your skin to firm up your joints. There are diagrams included in the package that instructs you where the tape must be applied. You can also find lots of information on the web, including photos and videos. Here’s the link to my post about it: Rocktape

Exercise- the solution for nearly everything related to physical recovery is also a way to make shoulder pain go away. Moving your joints, even when it causes agony is important. I’m not talking about full range-of-motion exercises that may cause further damage, but small movements that will engage the muscles. Shoulder shrugs are an example. Be sure to consult with your physical therapist or your doctor before starting any exercise program. That is critical, or you can cause further injury and extend the time that you are in pain. Here’s a link to my video page featuring a shoulder exercise video by a couple of physical therapists: Shoulder Exercise Video

Sling: A sling makes a huge difference in whether you experience shoulder pain or not. I was warned repeatedly by the physical therapists in rehab to wear mine all the time. A directive I followed at about 50%. The hospital-issued sling caused neck pain because my neck couldn’t support the weight of my arm. I had zero pain when I was discharged, but within a few weeks gravity caught up with me. Agony soon followed. I am not exaggerating, either. Take my advice, wear a sling. Many affordable models that are quite comfortable can be found on the web, including the one I bought: Sling

Wheelchair Arm Tray: Gravity is the enemy of stroke survivors, even when sitting down and the risk of falling is eliminated. Stroke survivors often have one arm paralyzed, leaving the shoulder vulnerable to collapse. The construction of the shoulder joint is very complex, and it is held together by muscles and tendons that rely on brain signals to remain firm. With those signals interrupted, it doesn’t take long for gravity to start pulling the shoulder apart. I purchased this Wheelchair Arm Tray to remedy the situation.

Electrical Stimulation Devices- these are great little machines. They apply electricity to force your muscles to contract or extend depending on where you place them. They are also great for canceling out pain impulses. I would use them several times a day for pain relief, and maybe once a day to stimulate contractions and extensions. Again, the contact pads must be in the correct location for it to work. Check out E-Stim Devices

Massage- I have an excellent massage therapist with supernatural healing skills. She specializes in treating athletes, which I’m not anymore, but she did wonders for my shoulder pain. A former ultra-marathoner and cancer survivor, she is no stranger to pain. She knows where all the nerves are located and how to make them settle down. Try to find a sports massage expert in your area. It’s the ultimate solution to shoulder pain. Read my post: Sports Massage for Pain Relief.

Drugs- Sometimes you have to take something to minimize the pain to start the healing process. My reaction to pain is to clench up. I clenched up so tight that I could not exercise the shoulder or get any sleep. Both of those are critical to healing, so although I hate taking painkillers of any kind, in this case, I relented. Opiates of the variety strong enough to deal with shoulder pain also have undesirable side effects. “Stroke Brain” (common slang for that dazed way stroke victims often feel) is bad enough; it’s even worse when you are on painkillers. There is also a thing called OIC: opiate -induced constipation. Not fun at all.

National Institutes of Health PDF

National Institutes of Health PDF: Shoulder Pain

This is a five-page National Institutes of Health document that you can download to help you understand what your medical options are for shoulder pain. It’s not too technical, and it is very brief. Here’s the link: NIH PDF on Shoulder Pain.

My shoulder pain is totally gone now. But it took me many months of proactive steps to get it to go away. I urge you to try some or all of the remedies I used. Don’t just lie in bed in agony.