Shoulder problems are common and can occur throughout adult life. Many respond to simple treatments / self management.
Shoulder problems can cause a range of symptoms, including:
You don’t normally need to see a healthcare professional. New onset or flare-up of a longstanding shoulder problem should settle within 6 weeks.
What causes shoulder problems?
Shoulder problems are common and can be caused by movements such as taking off your coat, lifting something awkwardly, taking part in sport and a trip or a fall.
As you get older, normal wear and tear can cause your shoulder problem to flare-up now and again, often for no reason.
Can this cause problems anywhere else?
You may feel some pains around your shoulder and neck and into your arm.
Keeping active is an essential part of your treatment and recovery and is the single best thing you can do for your health.
Being physically active throughout your recovery can:
prevent a recurrence of the problem
maintain your current levels of fitness – even if you have to modify what you normally do, any activity is better than none
keep your other muscles and joints strong and flexible
Keep a healthy body weight
It’s recommended you stay at or return to work as quickly as possible during your recovery. You don’t need to be pain and symptom-free to return to work.
Pain medication can help to reduce the pain and help you move more comfortably, which can help your recovery. Speak to your community pharmacist about medication or other methods of pain relief. It’s important to take medication regularly.
Resting or moving?
Within the first 24 to 48 hours after a shoulder problem has started you should try to:
rest your shoulder but avoid long spells of not moving at all
move your shoulder gently for 10 to 20 seconds every hour when you are awake
After 48 hours:
Slowly return to normal activity
Do whatever you normally would and stay at, or return to work – this is important and is the best way to get better
Avoid sports or heavy lifting until you have less discomfort and good movement. Remember to warm up fully before you start sporting activities.
When to speak to a healthcare professional
There has been significant trauma such as a fall from a height or a direct blow to the shoulder
Your pain is preventing any movement at all
Help and support
If, after following the above advice, your shoulder problem hasn’t improved within 6 weeks a self-referral to TIMS may be of benefit.
To refer yourself to TIMS you will need to have your NHS number to hand.
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