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How to Treat a Sore Shoulder

author image Mike Samuels
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.
How to Treat a Sore Shoulder
Shoulder pain can be exercise-related.

A sore shoulder can be caused by bone spurs, cartilage or tendon tears, weakened muscles or tendon bursitis, according to Duke Health. By keeping your shoulders strong and mobile, you can manage shoulder soreness. When you do feel the onset of shoulder pain, however, it's important to have the right tactics in place to fix the issue as soon as possible.

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Step 1

Rest your shoulder.
Rest your shoulder.

Rest for at least 48 hours. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases recommends giving your shoulder at least 48 hours of complete rest. This ensures you don't aggravate the muscle or joint and inflict further damage.

Step 2

Apply ice.
Apply ice.

Apply ice to the affected area by either wrapping a bag of ice or frozen vegetables in a towel and hold it there or using a specially designed ice pack. Apply light pressure for 15 to 20 minutes at a time before taking a break. A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug can also help relieve pain and reduce swelling, according to

Step 3

See your doctor is the soreness has not decreased or is worse in 48 hours.
See your doctor is the soreness has not decreased or is worse in 48 hours.

Visit your doctor. If the soreness has not subsided after 48 hours or it is worse, make an appointment with your health care provider. The soreness may be due to something more serious, which could require medical attention.

Step 4

Using weight equipment to strengthen shoulders.
Using weight equipment to strengthen shoulders.

Implement exercises into your training plan to help strengthen the shoulder joint and muscles and prevent further injuries. These should only be performed after a consultation with your doctor or a physical therapist and once you've been given the all clear so the exercising won't exacerbate an injury.

Step 5

For every pushing exercise, perform two pulls.
For every pushing exercise, perform two pulls.

Perform double the amount of pulling exercises as pushing ones. Pulling exercises include any type of rowing movement, such as dumbbell, cable, barbell or machine rows, chinups and pull-downs. Pressing exercises include pushups, dips, chest presses and shoulder presses. Doing too much pushing and not enough pulling can cause shoulder imbalances and heighten your risk of injury, notes strength coach Eric Cressey in "Maximum Strength." For every pushing exercise, perform two pulls.

Step 6

Use a resistance band.
Use a resistance band.

Attach a resistance band to an upright structure and stand to the right of it in a side-on position. Hold the band in your right hand with directly in front of your mid-section and with your elbow tucked into your side. Pull the band toward your right side as far as you can. Use a slow and controlled tempo and perform 10 to 15 repetitions, then face the other way and do the same with your left side. These strengthen your rotator cuff muscles that support the shoulder. Add in three sets after each weight-training workout.

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