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At-home Therapies For Hip and Shoulder Pains

Hips and shoulders are essential for performing many everyday activities. That’s why pain in either of these areas can be extremely limiting. The hip is the joint between the femur and the pelvis. Your hip supports your weight while walking, standing, running, or doing any number of other weight-bearing activities. Your hips are also a large part of the reason you are able to balance.

Pain in the hip area could be related to inflammation, physical trauma, or a genetic issue. You might feel pain in your hip if the joint itself is having problems, but you also might feel pain due to issues in nearby tendons, ligaments, muscles, or nerves.

The shoulder is a bit more complicated. It consists of the collarbone, shoulder blade, and upper arm bone, as well as all the associated ligaments, muscles, and tendons. The rotator cuff is an especially important part of the shoulder. It consists of four stabilizing muscles.

Your shoulder allows for mobility and stabilization, which is why you’re able to do so many different things with your arms. You can lift, push, pull, as well as perform other more specialized tasks.

The wide range of motion in your shoulder makes it more prone to injury. Similar to hip pain, shoulder pain could be caused by inflammation or physical trauma. General wear and tear is also a common cause of shoulder discomfort. Shoulder pain is often caused by issues with parts of the body surrounding the shoulder, especially the neck.

If you’re experiencing either hip or shoulder pains, don’t get discouraged. There are many people who’ve successfully treated their pain and achieved full capability again. Here are 4 at-home therapies to try when you’re feeling pain in your hip or shoulder:

1. Rest

Anytime you feel hip or shoulder pain, continuing to perform your regular activities through the pain could lead to further injury, especially if you don’t yet know the cause of the pain. That’s why rest is essential. If you’re an athlete or in a profession that requires a lot of physical exertion, take it easy for a few days, and then see how you feel. If your pain goes away after a few days of rest, it’s possible you simply needed to let your body relax before getting back to work.

If you’re feeling discomfort while resting your hip or shoulder, you can apply ice to the painful areas. Ice can be an excellent way to manage that pain. Use a towel between the ice pack and the skin to avoid causing damage to the skin. Be careful to not overdo it with the ice, however. Limit the amount of time you spend icing to 20 minutes at a time. Too much icing can slow the healing process.

2. Stretching

Stretching loosens up your muscles, so if your shoulders or hips are bothering you, try a few of these exercises.

External Hip Rotation

The external hip rotation stretch will open up your hips and increase flexibility. This stretch is also sometimes called the butterfly stretch. Not only can this stretch relieve hip pain, but if you do it regularly, it can also help reduce your potential for future injury or pain.

To perform this stretch, sit on the floor with your legs bent at your knees and the soles of your feet pressed together. Then place one hand on each knee and push downward. Don’t push past a point of discomfort. A light push will cause a stretch, but without professional guidance, you don’t want to push too hard and risk injury.

Across the Chest Stretch

This stretch is excellent for easing tension in your shoulder muscles. First, you’ll bring one arm across your chest. Use the other arm to support and hold. This is a mild stretch but will help release tension in your shoulder muscles.

Neck Release

While this is technically a stretch for your neck, shoulder pain is often caused by neck tension. To perform this stretch, lower your chin toward your chest until you feel a stretch in the back of your neck. Then tilt your head to one side and hold for 30 seconds before slowly tilting your head to the other side. This stretch should release tension and help with your shoulder pain.

3. Massage

If your hip or shoulder pain is caused by muscle soreness, massage is an excellent at-home treatment. It loosens up your muscles, sometimes even more than any stretch is able to.

Use a foam roller for massaging both your shoulder and your hips. To massage your shoulder, first, lie on your side with the roller underneath your body, resting on your shoulder. Rest your lower body on the ground. Then, slowly roll up and down over your shoulder muscle. If you need support, the arm that is not being massaged can be held out for stabilization.

For a hip massage, place your body over the foam roller in a plank position, resting on your forearms. The foam roller should be directly beneath your hip flexor. Let your hip rest on the foam roller and begin to move up and down and side to side. Do this for at least 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.

If you don’t have access to a foam roller, you can substitute a tennis ball inside a sock. Alternatively, you can ask a friend or family member to lightly massage the painful areas.

4. Nutritional Changes

If your hip or shoulder is inflamed, certain types of foods can help decrease that inflammation. A number of fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory benefits. Try to eat more tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, kale, spinach, and celery.

Fatty fish is also excellent for reducing inflammation. Salmon, sardines, tuna, and mackerel are all known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Nuts like almonds and walnuts are also beneficial, so incorporate these into your diet when you can.

Many herbs and spices are also anti-inflammatory, so while you’re adding extra flavor to your recipes, you’re also helping reduce pain and inflammation in your body. Don’t be afraid to add extra ginger, turmeric, cayenne, and cinnamon because all of these can do wonders for your body.

In addition to incorporating more nutritious foods into your diet, make an effort to reduce highly processed foods or foods that are high in sugar. These types of foods can actually increase inflammation in your body.

If your hip or shoulder are severely inflamed, changing your diet isn’t an overnight solution. You have to be consistent in your diet to see these changes make a difference in your body. If you can make these changes in the long-term, however, you’re sure to see significantly lower levels of inflammation over time.

If you’re still experiencing hip and shoulder pains after trying these at-home therapies, consider speaking with a professional. Eastern Idaho Spine, Sports and Rehab Center can help you determine the cause of your pain and create a treatment plan for you.

About the author

Eastern Idaho Spine, Sports, and Rehab Center