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Margaret asked...

I have an upper shoulder niggle which has been present for several months...

I have an upper shoulder niggle which has been present for several months. It is not a problem and is not overly sore but it is not improving. Sometimes I feel a sharp pain when, for example, I lift my coat off the hook stand or doing pull ups or dips. I can also feel it when swimming (front crawl). DO you have any advice? Thank you

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The answer

Thank you for writing in to us at Ask the Expert.

You write telling us that you are having shoulder pain but do not say what this is like and what initially triggered the problem.

With shoulder pain this can be related to trapped nerves, muscle injury or even referred pain from other areas of your body.

With any muscle injury healing can take sometimes up to six weeks to fully recover. Nerves can become trapped due to misalignment of bones. muscle injury and inflammation.

Initial treatment we would suggest using to see if this helps you with recovery include:

  • Use analgesics such as Paracetamol, Codeine and Anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen providing you use these according to recommended dosage levels and have no known allergies or medical contra-indications to these.
  • Use of heat and ice packs or gels to ease discomfort, reduce swelling and encourage healing by increasing blood supply to the area.
  • Ensuring that your posture is as good as possible and that your sleep position is not exacerbating the injury/ muscle stiffness.
  • Exercise to help improve strength and mobility and muscle tone.

Seeking a review by a physiotherapist or osteopath, may be able to improve your mobility and strength by means of manipulation, realignment, massage, ultrasound treatment and exercise would also be a good idea.

If the problem persists despite taking these measures then it would be a good idea to seek a medical review by your GP who if appropriate can refer you to a specialist or refer you for investigations such as an ultra- sound or MRI to assess for bone or muscle injury.

We hope this helps and we wish you a speedy recovery.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses