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How to Treat a Sprained Shoulder: 5 Things You Can to Do for Recovery

October 20th, 2020

How to Treat a Sprained Shoulder: 5 Things You Can to Do for Recovery


How to Treat a Sprained Shoulder: 5 Things You Can to Do for Recovery

If you have sprained your shoulder, there are certain things you need to do. This guide on how to treat a sprained shoulder lists 5 things you can do.

Does your shoulder hurt every time you move it?

Don’t ignore that pain! 

Just because you don’t notice any swelling or bruising doesn’t mean something isn’t wrong. You might have a minor sprain, and if you don’t take care of it now, it will only get worse. 

So what are you supposed to do then? While healing a shoulder sprain does take patience, the treatment process is relatively simple. We’ve put together this guide to help you learn how to treat a sprained shoulder at home and when you should get medical help.

Make sure you keep reading below to learn more. 

Get Medical Help Right Away 

The first thing you should do after hurting your shoulder (even if you aren’t sure it’s sprained) is visit your doctor. They’ll be able to diagnose the injury and recommend the best treatment. 

Never ignore shoulder pain, especially if it’s serious or reassuring. Putting off treatment will only make the problem worse, and it can lead to worse damage, more pain, and maybe even chronic issues. 

It’s always better to play it safe. Going to the doctor for minor injuries is better than ignoring injuries that could turn into serious medical problems later on down the road. 

How to Treat a Sprained Shoulder at Home 

Your doctor will give you directions about how to take care of a sprained shoulder, so make sure you follow their instructions. However, there are some home remedies that can help you manage the pain and speed up the healing process. Here are a few DIY treatments you should try. 

1. Take Appropriate Medication 

Always talk to your doctor before taking any medication, especially if they have already given you a prescription. Stacking medications can be dangerous, so double-check with them before taking any over-the-counter meds. 

That said, you should be able to take things like aspirin or Advil to help lower the inflammation and reduce the pain. If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, follow the instructions on the packaging to ensure you’re taking the right dose size. 

2. Apply Heat and Cold 

Applying an ice pack to your sprained shoulder will help reduce the swelling, and since it will numb the area, it can also make the pain go down. You should use a cold compress up to five times a day, but don’t leave it on your shoulder for longer than 20 minutes at a time. 

If your shoulder is feeling stiff, you can also use a heating pad to relax the muscles. Heating your shoulder will also stimulate the blood flow, which can help you heal faster. 

3. Compress the Area 

Wrapping your shoulder with a medical bandage will compress the area and lower the swelling. It will also constrict the movement, which will prevent you from accidentally making the sprain worse. 

But be careful when wrapping your shoulder. Making it too tight can restrict the blood flow—something that can be both uncomfortable and dangerous. You may find a shoulder brace easier to use and more comfortable.  

4. Get Plenty of Rest 

You should stop exercising and try to limit the use of your arm until your shoulder sprain heals. But that doesn’t mean you should stop moving your shoulder completely. Make small movements, such as back and forth or up and down motions, every day to keep the shoulder muscles strong and flexible. 

You may want to wear a sling to keep your arm from moving too much. Since your arm will rest in the sling, this can also take stress off your shoulder. 

5. Try Some Gentle Stretches 

Gentle stretches may strengthen your shoulder and promote healing. However, you should always ask your doctor before trying any stretches or exercises. Otherwise, you may accidentally make the sprain worse. 

Signs You Should Call Your Doctor (Or Head to the Emergency Room) 

Even though you’ve already visited your doctor, you should keep an eye on your sprain. If it gets worse or if you think there’s something wrong, you shouldn’t hesitate to get in touch with them again. 

Here are a few signs it’s time to call your doctor: 

  • The swelling gets worse 
  • The pain gets worse
  • Your shoulder feels much stiffer than normal (and you have trouble moving it) 
  • You don’t notice any improvement after a week 

You may not need to head to the doctor’s office for these things, but it’s good to keep your doctor informed. They may need to adjust your treatment plan, and they may be able to give you more tips for managing the pain and swelling. 

If you notice any of these signs, however, you should get medical help right away:

  • You’re in severe pain  
  • Your shoulder is numb or has a tingling sensation 
  • The shoulder skin is discolored (more than just bruising or swelling) 
  • Your skin is clammy or cold to the touch 

These are warning signs that something more serious is happening to your body. If you can’t see your doctor that day, you should go to the emergency room instead. 

Healing a Shoulder Sprain so You Can Get Back to Normal Life 

In some cases, these at-home remedies might not be enough to heal your sprain. Not sure how to treat a sprained shoulder without these methods? You might need therapy. 

Our team at Nick Roselli Occupational Therapy can help. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment with our office. 

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