Open Accessibility Menu

Shoulder-Care 101: Alleviating Shoulder Pain

  • Category: Blog
  • Posted On:
Shoulder-Care 101: Alleviating Shoulder Pain

Preventing & Alleviating Shoulder Pain

From getting dressed to moving boxes—we use our shoulders for many everyday activities. However, chronic shoulder pain can make them seemingly impossible. Fortunately, you don’t have to go on living with these aches and pains.

The orthopedic health experts at Fox Valley Orthopedics are here to share some tips to help you keep shoulder pain at arm’s length.

Common Shoulder Injuries

While the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body, this also makes the shoulder more prone to injuries.

Rotator Cuff Tear

Most rotator cuff tears happen slowly over time as a result of regular wear and tear to the shoulder. Typically, degenerative rotator cuff tears affect the dominant arm since you tend to use it more often for day-to-day activities.

On the other hand, acute tears can happen when trying to lift a heavy object with a jerking motion. This form of rotator cuff tear is usually accompanied by other shoulder injuries like dislocation or even a broken collar bone.

However, acute tears can also be brought on by lifting an object that is too heavy with a jerking motion. This type of tear is typically accompanied by other shoulder injuries like dislocations or broken collar bones.

Common symptoms of a torn rotator cuff include:

  • Pain while resting.
  • Pain when lifting or lowering the arm.
  • Weakness when lifting or rotating the arm.
  • A “cracking” sensation when moving the shoulder.

Shoulder Dislocation

Dislocations happen when the shoulder joint moves or is forced out of its normal position. However, there are two different types of shoulder dislocations:

  • Partial dislocation: The head of the humerus is partially out of the socket.
  • Complete dislocation: The head of the humerus is all the way out of the socket.

Common symptoms of a dislocated shoulder include:

  • Visual deformity.
  • Swelling and inflammation.
  • Numbness or weakness.
  • Bruising.

Please keep in mind that a dislocation is considered a medical emergency. If you or someone around you dislocates their shoulder, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Shoulder Impingement

Impingement happens when your shoulder muscles rub against the acromion, which is the top of the shoulder blade. Typically, impingement is brought on by excessive overhead shoulder movements.

Common symptoms of impingement include:

  • Pain when lifting the arm above the head.
  • Pain when reaching for things.
  • Tenderness at the front of the shoulder.
  • Pain when lying on the affected shoulder.
  • Pain when reaching behind the back.
  • Shoulder stiffness.

Exercises & Stretches to Prevent Injuries

Like many injuries that can affect your joints, certain stretches and yoga poses can help to prevent them.

Lateral Arm Raises

Lateral arm raises are an excellent exercise to add to your fitness routine to improve the mobility of your shoulders. More specifically, it helps to strengthen the lateral deltoid muscles.

Wall Slides

Wall slides are another great exercise that focuses on the mechanics of the shoulders by building up supportive muscles. It also helps to strengthen your trapezius muscles.

Cow-Face Pose

The cow-face pose is a yoga pose that helps to improve your posture while also improving the flexibility in your shoulders and upper back.

Exercises & Stretches to Alleviate Existing Joint Pain

If you’re already living with persistent joint pain, these stretches can help you to find some relief.

Seated Forward Bend

If you tend to have tension in your shoulders, neck, and upper back—the seated forward bend can help to alleviate the stiffness causing your discomfort. Along with elongating the muscles in the neck and back, it helps to stretch your hamstrings too!


If you tend to have aches and pains affecting your neck and shoulders, ear-to-shoulder can help to provide you with some relief. This pose helps to relieve tension that may be affecting the sides of the neck.

Melting Heart Pose

The melting heart pose is another pose that is good for elongating the neck and relieving tension affecting the shoulders. It helps to improve shoulder mobility while also promoting the natural alignment of the spine.

When to Consider Surgical Intervention

You Still Have Pain When Resting

Experiencing pain and discomfort can be expected during certain physical activities when living with chronic pain. However, when symptoms continue when you’re not using your shoulder during activity, having a joint replacement may be a viable option.

Pain Stops You From Doing Everyday Activities

From grabbing things from the top shelf to putting on pants—we use our arms and shoulders to do almost all of our day-to-day activities. But when aches and pains continue to plague your shoulder, it can make these simple tasks feel impossible.

If you find yourself avoiding certain activities or have trouble taking care of yourself due to shoulder pain, having a joint replacement may be able to help you get back to your routine pain-free.

Less Invasive Pain Management Techniques Aren’t Working

When having joint pain, your orthopedic doctor may go through a number of treatment options before suggesting surgical intervention. Typically this can include a combination of medication, physical therapy, and steroid injections to improve your condition.

While these pain management options may provide you with some initial relief, it’s normal for shoulder pain to worsen over time. When these methods aren’t working like they used to or aren't helping at all, it may be time to discuss joint replacement as the next step toward more permanent relief.

If you’re suffering from persistent pain affecting your shoulder, you should reach out to your orthopedic care team to talk about whether or not a joint replacement is a viable treatment option for your condition.

Orthopedic Care in Fox Valley

At Fox Valley Orthopedics, we can help you get back to a pain-free, comfortable life. If you have been dealing with aches and pains that have lasted for more than a week, don’t put off getting help another day. Call (630) 584-1400 today to schedule your appointment.