Shoulder Brace for Shoulder Pain
Shoulder injuries can happen on impact while you’re playing sports, have an accidental fall, and even from overuse.
A few of the most common shoulder injuries include strains or sprains, torn rotator cuff, dislocated shoulder or shoulder instability.
If you feel pain in your shoulder, you should rest and immobilize your shoulder with a brace or sling.
A shoulder brace will help give your shoulder extra support and minimize movement while seeking medical advice to begin your recovery.
How does the shoulder work?
Your shoulders each have two joints, making them the most flexible parts of your body.
The main shoulder joint – the glenohumeral – is a ball-and-socket joint. It’s called this because the top of the upper arm bone – the humerus – is shaped like a ball.
This ball fits into the shoulder blade bone, which acts as the socket, giving your shoulder a wide range of movement.
But, the shoulder socket is very small, compared to other ball-and-socket joints, such as the hip.
It’s held together and controlled by a covering of muscles, which are secured to the bones by strong cords called tendons.
These muscles and tendons form a capsule around the joint and support its movements, but can make it more likely to dislocate than other joints.
Inside the capsule is the synovium, which produces fluid that lubricates the joint and keeps the cartilage healthy.
The cartilage helps protect your bones from any impact and sits between the bones of your shoulder joints to stop them from rubbing together.
Above the main shoulder joint, there’s a smaller joint where the top of the shoulder blade – the acromion – meets the collar bone.
This is known as the acromioclavicular joint.
It helps the larger joint below to move through its full range, particularly when you’re raising your arm, lifting or throwing.
What causes shoulder pain?
Most shoulder problems only affect a small area and should last a relatively short time.
But sometimes the problem in your shoulder could be part of a wider, long-term condition such as osteoarthritis or polymyalgia rheumatica.
It’s fairly common for people with rheumatoid arthritis to have pain and swelling in their shoulders.
Osteoarthritis is less likely to affect your shoulders than other joints unless you’ve injured them in the past.
There are several other possible causes of shoulder pain, such as:
- inflammation, where your shoulder becomes hot, red, swollen and painful as a natural reaction to an infection or injury
- damage to the muscles and tendons around the shoulder
- tension in the muscles between the neck and shoulder – this is usually down to your posture in your upper back or neck and is often linked the way you stand or sit when you’re using a computer or at work
- inflammation in the bursa – a fluid-filled cushion which normally helps the muscles and tendons slide smoothly over the shoulder bones
- damage to the bones and cartilage, which can be caused by arthritis.
It’s also possible the pain you’re feeling in your shoulder is coming from a problem in another part of your body, such as your neck.
Problems in your neck can make your shoulder blade or upper outer arm painful. When this happens it’s known as referred pain or radiated pain.
If you’re feeling a tingling sensation in your hand or arm, as well as pain in your shoulder, it’s likely to be from a problem in your neck.
Should I see a doctor?
Unless you’ve had a serious injury or get sudden, continuous pain, you can usually treat your shoulder pain without having to see your doctor.
If, after two weeks of treating yourself, you feel the pain isn’t any better you should see your doctor or a physiotherapist.
You should also see your doctor as soon as possible if you:
- develop severe pain in both shoulders
- also have pain in your thighs
- feel feverish or unwell.
These can be signs of the condition called polymyalgia rheumatica, which needs prompt treatment.
How are shoulder problems diagnosed?
Each shoulder problem has its own pattern of symptoms that can help your doctor or a physiotherapist make a diagnosis.
Most conditions make it painful to use or move your shoulder, but some make your shoulder feel stiff.
Your doctor or physiotherapist will need to see which movements are the most painful, as this could show where the problem is.
They will usually ask how the problem started, how it has developed and how it affects your daily activities.
If you can, try to write a few notes about when and how the problem started and what makes it feel worse before your appointment.
This will help you get a more accurate diagnosis.
Usually, your physiotherapist or doctor can recommend the best course of treatment once they’ve diagnosed what your condition is.
However, they may send you for further tests if they suspect your problems are being caused by arthritis or a more complicated condition.
Specific shoulder conditions
Some of the specific conditions that affect the shoulder include:
- Calcific tendonitis and calcific periarthritis
- Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)
- Polymyalgia rheumatica
- Referred neck pain
- Lung conditions
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Tendon problems
- Shoulder impingement or painful arc syndrome
- Subacromial bursitis
- Rotator cuff tear
- Biceps tendonitis
What treatments are there for shoulder pain?
If your shoulder pain doesn’t improve with simple home treatments, there are other alternatives your doctor can recommend for you to try:
- Occupational therapy
- Steroid injections
Why Use a Shoulder Brace for Shoulder Pain?
Anyone who is recovering from an injury—or desperately trying to avoid one—understands the risks of training or competing.
While many doctors recommend rest and ice as the first treatment for a sore shoulder, this isn’t a long-term remedy for an active person. In addition to losing training time, you risk developing stiffness from prolonged immobilization.
Shoulder braces can be worn to recover from a shoulder injury or to reduce discomfort. They range from ultra-durable slings that greatly restrict your range of motion to lightweight neoprene vests that protect your AC joint.
As the technology has advanced over the years, most shoulder brace materials are light and breathable, with easily adjustable straps.
A shoulder brace can help:
- Speed up the recovery process
- Protect your shoulder from further injury
- Provide compression, which may enhance the receptors in your skin and help your brain better understand the position of your shoulder
A shoulder brace can help you during multiple stages in the rehabilitation process.
After you’ve been injured, a shoulder brace can be used to support and protect your shoulder during the healing process. Some braces compress swollen joints, helping to ease inflammation. A brace allows your injured muscles to take a break, virtually eliminating the possibility of your overdoing it.
If you have sustained a shoulder injury or have shoulder pain, visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Your doctor may recommend a shoulder brace to help support and immobilize your shoulder and arm while you are injured.
If you are recovering from injury and are looking to be active in sports and activities, it is important to adequately support your shoulder as it will have a higher chance of re-injury.
Having trouble choosing right shoulder brace, reach us our health advocates will find the right fit for you: rotator cuff supports, shoulder arthritis, shoulder dislocation, shoulder instability, shoulder impingement, and AC joint separation.