Home Remedies for Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is a common problem that anyone may experience. The joint of the shoulder is one of the most overworked joints in the body, and when it aches, it can cause discomfort and disruption of normal daily activities. Even the easiest tasks, like putting on a seatbelt, can be difficult if you have shoulder pain.

The good thing about shoulder pain is it can be easily treated and relieved at home. Here are some of the best home remedies you can do for shoulder pain:


One of the best things you can try at home to relieve shoulder pain is to massage your affected shoulder joint gently. Massage can relieve spasms, and helps push fluid from swelling back to the body’s circulation, and reduces tension between the tendons and ligaments.

Get a family member or a spouse to knead your sore muscles. Massage with the use of oil and apply it to the affected shoulder. A pain-relieving oil with heating effects can be more effective. If you prefer to do it alone, find a sock and a tennis ball to using as a massager. Place the sock with the ball inside at the back of your shoulder where it’s sore. Then, press your back against the wall to apply pressure and move so the ball would roll around slightly.

Cold compress

If your shoulder is swelling, cold compresses can reduce it. Cold packs can also help numb sharp pain and control unwanted inflammation. Apply a cold compress on your shoulder for up to 20 minutes up to five times a day. You may use ice cubes in a plastic bag, a frozen gel pack, or a bag of frozen vegetables. Wrap it in a soft towel – do not apply the old pack directly to the skin.


When painful shoulder conditions are caused by inflammation, it can be aided by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Controlling the inflammation can help reduce the unwanted effects of shoulder pain. The most common generic types of NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen. These drugs can be bought over the counter or prescribed by a physician. However, people with underlying medical conditions must consult their doctor first before treating their shoulder pain with oral medications.

If you have tension or spasms around your shoulder joint, muscle relaxant meds can help treat pain. Common ones include baclofen, cyclobenzaprine, and tizanidine. These drugs need a prescription from a doctor. However, these relaxants can cause drowsiness, so do not take these if you’re driving or operating machinery. If your shoulder pain is not relieved by a short course of medications, it’s best to seek medical evaluation.

You may opt for topical pain-relief creams, gels, ointments, oils, and transdermal patches that don’t have the same side effects as oral pain meds.

If you want to go for a more natural route, ginger and turmeric are your best bet. Both ginger and turmeric have potent ingredients that can soothe pain and inflammation. There are ginger-based and turmeric-based supplements you can buy from herbal shops and health stores. You may also drink ginger or turmeric tea or add these to your meals. You may not get enough pain relief from eating them or drinking them in tea form, though, but it can help.


Sometimes, compression is what you need. Wrap the shoulder using an elastic medical bandage to help reduce pain and swelling. You can use a regular ACE bandage or a cold compression bandage, or a shoulder wrap from a pharmacy. Wrap it snugly – not too loose but not too tight so as not to block blood flow.

Heat therapy

Applying ice can help during the acute phases of inflammation, but heat is more effective for chronic tightness. A warm shower can help alleviate the stiff and sore feelings on the shoulders.

You can also use a thermal gel, a heating pad, or an electric hot pack to put on your shoulders. The heat can help restore a healthy blood supply to the joint and improve the elasticity of ligaments, tendons, and muscles.

Just be careful not to use extremely high heat because it may aggravate your skin. The body responds to medium heat levels better than intense heat.

Salt bath

This is an old-school remedy, but it works for some people. Simply fill a bathtub with warm water and add Epsom salts. Then, immerse your shoulders in the tub for 10 to 15 minutes. Besides relaxing the shoulders and relieving cramping pain, the salts can also help soothe your skin. You may also add essential oils that work for body pains, such as eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, yarrow, cypress, chamomile, ginger, clove, juniper, clary sage, and more.

Using a good pillow

Sleep almost takes a third of your life, and often, the weight of your body is loaded in the shoulders. This can cause injury, inflammation, and restricted blood flow. To relieve pressure on your shoulder, always use quality pillows and avoid non-atomic positions when you sleep. There are even special pillows designed to bring ease to the shoulders during sleep to avoid impingement of the shoulder structures.


After a shoulder injury, you need to stop or change the activity that may have caused the shoulder pain. The shoulder needs time to recover, so in the meantime, avoid reaching overhead, contact sports, lifting heavy objects, pushing or pulling, and other activities that involve the repetitive use of the shoulder joint. It’s essential to move the shoulder gently to prevent further injury.

Stretching and therapeutic exercises

The shoulders have a wide range of motion, so you can do various stretching and therapeutic exercises to ease the pain. Do not forget to stretch to prevent stress to the ligaments and joints before doing a strenuous activity.

Stretching the muscles around the shoulder joint can help ease the pain and prevent further injury. Muscles that are too tight due to lack of exercise and stretching are more susceptible to pain.

Healthy diet

You can easily reduce inflammation in your body naturally through a healthy diet. In addition, having a healthy diet after a period of injury, your body needs more nutrients to promote healthy recovery. Foods that naturally reduce inflammation include:

  • Olive oil
  • Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel
  • Tomatoes
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Herbs and spices

Cutting out processed foods as much as possible will naturally reduce inflammation in the body. You must also limit your intake of alcohol, sodas, nicotine, and caffeine, which must be only consumed up to two cups a day.