You may not think much of it, or perhaps you’ve even shrugged it off, but the shoulder is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body.
Our shoulders have a tremendous range of motion, making them the most movable joint in the human body. They help us carry out everyday tasks such as reaching, lifting, carrying and performing exercises.
A healthy shoulder allows the arm to move in all different directions. No other bodily joint can do this, not even finger joints, ankles or hips.
Shoulder pain is nothing to shrug about
We definitely don’t realise how great of a role our shoulders play on a day-to-day basis until we are afflicted with shoulder pain. All of a sudden, simple and mundane tasks like brushing your hair, putting on clothes and even reaching for something can put you in a world of pain. Suffering from shoulder pain is indeed debilitating and can put your life and chores on hold, so finding relief is crucial.
Shoulder pain causes
Because of the shoulders’ everyday function and use, there are several conditions and factors that can contribute to shoulder pain.
Before you proceed reading further, it is best to contact your physician if:
- Your shoulder pain is a result of an injury.
- You cannot move your shoulders at all.
- There is lasting bruising in the shoulders.
- You can feel heat and tenderness around the joints.
- The pain persists beyond a two or three period, even with home treatment
Fortunately, most forms of minor shoulder pain can be treated at home.
Here are the most common types of minor shoulder pain:
Bursitis – This is also known as rotator cuff tendonitis and it is often caused by repetitive motions that put pressure on the bursae around the joint. The bursa (singular of “bursae”) is a fluid-filled sac that lies between the bones making up the shoulder, and its main purpose is to protect the tendons. When the shoulder joint is overused the bursa gets inflamed or irritated, and there is often pain, tenderness and swelling around the affected area.
Rotator cuff tears – This is similar to bursitis in that the overuse of shoulder joints can lead to chronic inflammation and degeneration. This can cause rotator cuff tears, which is pretty much wear and tear on the shoulder tendons.
Frozen shoulder – This is one of the most common types of shoulder pain and it commonly afflicts people in their 50’s and 60’s. A frozen shoulder is the result of inflammation, scarring, thickening and shrinkage of the capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint. In layman’s terms, a frozen shoulder occurs when scar tissue forms in the shoulder. Because this causes the shoulder joint capsules to tighten and thicken, it leaves a person’s shoulder mostly immobilised, hence getting the name “frozen shoulder”.
Calcific tendonitis – This is a condition where calcium deposits of up to one or two centimetres in diameter build up in the muscles or tendons. Calcific tendonitis usually disappears over time but complete resolution of symptoms can take between 12 to 18 months.
Relief for shoulder pain: cool as ice
To treat most forms of minor shoulder pain, the tried-and-tested remedy of ice therapy should be your first choice. Ice numbs the pain and causes blood vessels to constrict, which will help reduce swelling. Cryotherapy, or ice therapy, has been practiced for a long time and works by reducing blood flow to a particular area, which can significantly reduce inflammation and pain, especially around a joint or a tendon.
As a general rule, shoulder pain can be relieved when you place an ice pack on your shoulder for up to 20 minutes, up to five times a day. Frozen gel or ice packs are the best for this, such as the Premium Reusable Shoulder Ice Pack, but when you don’t have an ice pack at home, a bag of frozen peas or ice wrapped in plastic and then towel will do as a temporary substitute.
When you suffer from shoulder pain, you know how troublesome it is to deal with the pain and how it can debilitate you. This is why quality shoulder ice packs are great to have as part of your home medicine kit.
We’ve seen so many types of ice packs and pain relief accessories available in the market, so we’ve come up with a list of what to look for when purchasing an ice pack for shoulder pain:
1. One that is designed especially for the shoulder
This may sound like a no-brainer, but the design and size of an ice pack is important when the pain is in large corner joints like the shoulders. Sore spots in your shoulder all differ, so it’s important to have a gel pack that contours not just around your shoulder, but your bicep, tricep and across your neck as well. Shoulder packs like this Premium Shoulder Ice Pack and Strap are designed to fit both your left and right shoulders, and its universal size makes it a perfect fit for males and females alike.
2. A should ice pack that offers more than 20 minutes of cold therapy
When it comes to treating shoulder pain with cold therapy, medical professionals suggest putting ice on the affected area for about 20 minutes. This amount of time is quite crucial. Any less than 20 minutes and you may just have simply “chilled” the area without providing anti-inflammation action. Plus, if the skin on your shoulder has been in contact with ice for more than 20 minutes, you risk running frostbite in the affected area.
This Premium Shoulder Ice Pack and Strap, for instance, is designed to stay cool for 22 to 25 minutes. This works great because you don’t even have to re-freeze any bags or keep track of time too strictly.
3. A shoulder ice packs with straps
When you’re nursing shoulder pain and trying to ice it, it’s important that your ice pack will fit and mould itself easily around your shoulders, chest, neck and upper arm area. Equally important too is that the ice pack is held in snug in place by adjustable straps. Not only will this ensure a speedy recovery and healing from shoulder pain, but it will also give you the freedom to move around and have your other hand free.
Your ice pack ought to be quite comfortable. Look for straps that are made with quality materials like high-grade Velcro with no exposed edges. You are already in pain, so you’d want your shoulder ice pack to be as comfortable as possible!
4. A shoulder ice pack that’s flexible
The important thing to keep in mind when buying a shoulder ice pack is that the pack itself should be flexible when it is taken straight out of the freezer.
Some ice packs, or even homemade ones from a bag of frozen peas, frozen meat or a bag of ice cubes, will need slight defrosting before it is pliable so you can wrap them perfectly around the shoulder. Ice packs like Magic Gel’s Premium Shoulder Ice Pack and Strap are designed for healing and not freezing. It remains flexible when it is taken straight out of the freezer so you can comfortably mould it around the affected area.
5. An ice pack that’s both durable and trusted
One of the important things your shoulder ice pack needs is for it to be durable and reusable. You may need pain therapy every now and again, so it’s essential that your shoulder ice pack lasts for a long time and is trusted by professionals.
Magic Gel’s Premium Shoulder Ice Pack is reusable for up to five years, and you’ll also get a minimum of two years of safe, leak-free use from the gel packs.
These premium shoulder packs are made to be soft yet durable and with a strong vinyl that is tear- and split-resistant.
They have also been recommended by medical professionals for use in arthritis, post-surgery recovery, muscle damages, bursitis and many other ailments. Pharmacies, surgery centres and health clubs also stock up on these shoulder ice packs.
When you’re already in pain, the last thing you need is to be burdened more by unnecessary costs or expensive pain relief tools that don’t really offer results. If you’re experiencing shoulder pain and would like to discuss this, or have questions about the best kind of ice packs for your shoulders, contact us for a chat!