Shoulder pain is a sign of impending issues arising from the fact that most of your daily activities are going to turn into uncomfortable choirs. Everything from being able to brush your teeth, to sleeping comfortably becomes a nightmare that you want to wake up from.
If you are a fitness lover, then a rotator cuff tear becomes a major hurdle in you being able to work out or perform the simplest of exercises without enduring pain.
The human shoulder is made up of an intricate system of bones, muscles, joints, and connective tissue. As such, it can perform a variety of activities for the human body like throwing a ball, climbing, swimming, lifting weight etc.
Causes of Rotator Cuff Tear and Pain
Common rotator cuff issues typically pertain to a torn rotator cuff due to falling or being hit on the shoulder while playing a sport like football or rugby. Repeated overuse of shoulders for certain activities like raking, lifting, painting, cleaning windows, etc., can also be a major reason for the problem as well.
Some other causes of rotator cuff pain include:
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis caused by repeated overhead use
- Rotator Cuff Impingement caused when the cuff is squeezed between the humerus and nearby bone called tendon
- Frozen Shoulder also occurs when the humerus adheres to the shoulder blade
As you can figure out from the above causes, a rotator cuff tear is probably one of the common injuries suffered by the shoulder area. Its symptoms may include;
- Pain when lifting and lowering your arm
- Weakness felt when lifting or rotating your arm
- Pain while resting or sleeping
- The occurrence of Crepitus- a grating sound produced by friction between bone and cartilage
Whatever the cause of your rotator cuff injury might be, the important thing to consider here is a way to find relief from its painful symptoms. Luckily for you, we have arranged a list of 10 natural remedies that can effectively help you get rid of your shoulder pain.
10 Natural Remedies for Rotator Cuff Pain
Starting with the most obvious solution, when in pain, it is always wise to just take some time out and relax. Refrain from all kinds of physically strenuous activities. Rest includes getting enough sleep and limiting overhead and repetitive tasks. One of the ways to reduce pain is to reduce inflammation, and what better way to reduce inflammation than by avoiding activities altogether. You can also use a sling to support your arm and prevent any unwanted movement.
2. Therapeutic Ultrasound
Heat is a great way to address the pain caused by inflammation. An ultrasound does just that by heating up deep tissue, speeding the flow of blood, decrease inflammation, and increases the overall healing ability of the affected area.
3. Heating Pad
As we have already mentioned how heat plays an important role in healing, applying a moist heating pad for 20-30 minutes before exercise can be useful in escalating the healing process.
If you feel as if you have hurt your shoulder then apply an ice pack immediately to reduce swelling and inflammation. If the ice pack is extremely cold, use a thick cloth to cover the injured area before applying the pack. Apply the ice pack for 15 minutes every other hour; you can then apply it three times a day until pain declines.
5. Anti-Inflammatory Foods
When in pain, it is advisable to avoid high inflammatory foods like processed and fast food. Try to incorporate more anti-inflammatory food in your diet like;
- Assortment of vegetables
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts
- Olive Oil
- Green leafy vegetables like Kale and spinach
- Fruits such as strawberries, cherries, and oranges
6. Essential Oils
Using essential oils, like peppermint oil, in particular, can be a phenomenal natural remedy against a rotator cuff tear. Peppermint oil acts as a natural painkiller, providing relief from the pain that comes from a nasty rotator cuff tear. You can blend it with coconut oil, almond oil and rub it on the affected area twice a day.
Other effective essential oils include primrose, lavender oils and arnica oil.
7. Physical Therapy
There is ample evidence that physical therapy is far more effective in healing injuries than conventional medical practices like injecting steroids. Physical therapy includes various kinds of exercises that aim to restore the strength and flexibility of your shoulder area.
Stretching is a great way to work your way towards restoring the flexibility and motion of your injured shoulder. Now, you won’t see results overnight, and it all depends on your commitment to the activity. Listen to your body and stop if you feel pain or extreme discomfort while stretching.
A 2012 study of the effects of acupuncture on four kinds of pain conditions ( Back and neck pain, arthritis, chronic headache, and shoulder pain) found that people who received acupuncture had less pain than the individuals in the placebo group.
Rotator Cuff Strength and Stretching Exercises
As we said, a dedicated physical therapy can be enough to get you the relief you need from your shoulder injury. If anytime during the exercises you experience pain, please stop and consult your doctor.
1. Crossover Arm Stretch
Stand with feet hip-distance. Try to relax your shoulders and pull one arm across your chest as far as possible. Make sure to avoid pressure on the elbow area. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, relax for 15-20 seconds and continue with the other side. Repeat at least five times.
2. Back Rotation
Stand with feet-hip apart. Knees should be tightly bent and keep your core tight. Hold a stick or wet towel behind your back, grabbing one end with one hand and stretching to the other end being grabbed by the other hand. Pull the stick horizontally to feel the pain without stretch.
Lean forward and place one hand on a table in front of you. Allow the other arm to hang freely on the other side, then gently swing arm back and forth at least 3-4 times. Next, move the arm in a circular motion.
1. Standing Row
Using an elastic or resistance band of comfortable tension make a loop out of the band and put it around a doorknob. You can try to tie the hands together or by using the common resistance bands grab the handle with one hand. Now stand in the start position, holding the band with your elbow bent and at your side. Keeping your arm to your side, slowly pull your elbow straight back, then slowly return and repeat.
2. Upward Rotation
Make a 3 feet long loop with the elastic band. Attach the loop to the doorknob or other stable location. Stand holding the band with your elbow bent at 90 degrees with knuckles and fist facing forward. Maintain the position with your arm and shoulder, and then slowly raise your arm until the forearm is vertical.
3. Inward Rotation
Stand holding the band with your elbow bent and at your side, fist vertical and facing forward. While your elbow is close to your side, bring your arm across your body, then return it to the starting position and repeat.