Emergency Department and Minor Injury Unit
You have been given this information because you have been diagnosed with a shoulder injury.
You will likely have been told you have suffered from a sprain or a muscle injury. A sprain is an injury to a ligament, the band-like structures around joints, which attach bones together and give support to joints.
A ligament can be injured, usually by being over-stretched during a sudden pull, but may have occurred during a fall.
Symptoms of a sprain can include:
- pain around the affected joint
- being unable to use the joint normally or being unable to put weight on it
Treating a shoulder injury
Minor sprains and strains can usually be treated with self-care techniques, such as PRICE therapy (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation). Generally, you should try to start moving a sprained joint as soon as it is not too painful to do so.
For the first 48 to 72 hours think of:
PRICE – Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
Do no HARM – no Heat, Alcohol, Running or Massage.
The following exercises may help:
- Stand with your good hand resting on a chair.
- Let your other arm hang down and try to swing it gently backwards and forwards and in a circular motion.
- Repeat about 5 times, try this 2 to 3 times a day.
- Stand and raise your shoulders. Hold for 5 seconds.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades back and together and hold for 5 seconds.
- Pull your shoulder blades downward and hold for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat 10 times.
- Stand in a doorway with your elbow bent at a right angle and the back of your wrist against the door frame.
- Try to push your arm outwards against the door frame. Hold for 5 seconds.
- Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Recovering from a shoulder injury
Your recovery depends on the type of injury you have sustained. You may be referred to a shoulder specialist or physiotherapist, however most minor sprains will improve over a few weeks.
For further advice and information about your condition, please choose from the following:
- ‘NHS Patient Choices’ website: www.nhs.uk
- ‘Making Lives Better’ patient website: www.patient.info
- Telephone NHS 111
- Contact your General Practitioner
- The James Cook University Hospital, Marton Road, Middlesbrough, TS4 3BW
Telephone: 01642 850850
- The Friarage, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL6 1JG
Telephone: 01609 779911
- Redcar Primary Care Hospital, West Dyke Road, Redcar, TS10 4NW
Telephone: 01642 511000
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.
To ensure we meet your communication needs please inform the Patient Experience Department of any special requirements, for example; braille or large print.
T: 01642 835964
E: [email protected]