Going back to Shoulder Bursitis; Part 5, you can refresh your memory on how to modify some of those more activities you do every day, in order to protect your shoulder. Really, this is a basic tenet of treating the repetitive strain conditions from which we suffer as adults. (And don’t forget…the shoulder isn’t designed to be a weight bearing joint). If you’ve been reading some of my previous blogs, you will begin to see the patterns of activity modifications. Ideally you might be able to figure this out for yourself next time you feel some pain you haven’t previously experienced. I’m not talking about the kind of pain you suddenly experience when you get hit by a car. And I’m not talking about the pain you experience in the left side of your chest when you over exert yourself. Although frankly, just about any pain you experience should be accompanied by some form of rest. But let’s just say for the purposes of these discussions, we’re talking about musculoskeletal pain.
Now back to finishing up on your shoulder. Most of these repetitive strain disorders are associated with some degree of inflammation. And inflammation will respond in some way, to anything which helps decrease inflammation; namely ice and anti-inflammatories. A little massage never hurts either. Just rub it. Use a little Tiger Balm or Ben-Gay or whatever kind of lotion is available. Don’t be afraid to touch.
Put a little ice on it. Frankly, if heat makes it feel better…use heat. If something makes it feel better, use it.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually helpful. Now this is where I have to do that little thing they do on the end of commercials. Say it out loud, very quickly, and with a deep voice. You should not take these medications if your doctor has told you not to. And if you haven’t had that discussion with your doctor then you should not take them if you are taking blood thinners, if you have peptic ulcer disease, if you have liver or kidney disease or if you have had allergic reactions to these medications in the past. There, that’s done.
Now these medications are readily available over-the-counter (OTC). They include medications such as Aleve, Advil (and their generic forms; naproxyn sodium and ibuprofen), and aspirin. There are many forms available by prescription, but for now we’re limiting this discussion to just those you can buy in the store without a prescription.
So if you have no contra-indications to using these medications, they could be a useful adjunct to your activity modifications. Just use them as they are recommended on the bottle. Don’t plan to use them for long periods of time and make sure you’re not already taking a prescription NSAID. I often see patients who have been on prescription NSAIDs for a long time and are also take OTC NSAIDs.
I can often nip a potential repetitive strain disorder in the bud with just a little activity modification and a couple of days of Aleve.