Health blog

5 tips PT experts recommend for people with shoulder pain during the winter

January 3rd, 2022
Shoulder Pain During Winter

If you suffer from bad shoulder pain during winter, you need to keep your surroundings warm. Cold weather may cause your muscles to contract and swell, which can lead to painful and chronic symptoms. Moreover, cold weather also tends to reduce the flow of blood to your muscles and tendons. This can cause them to stiffen and trigger pain.

It’s important to try different ways to deal with shoulder pain during the winter. Here are some tips PT experts may recommend:

  1. Keep getting in some exercise.

Not moving around enough can actually lead to more shoulder pain. That’s why physical therapists often suggest staying as active as possible. For instance, they might suggest trying a variety of movements to strengthen the shoulder and increase its range of motion. These can help you stay active and alleviate shoulder pain. 

You can also try stretching exercises that target your shoulder like the cross-body shoulder stretch. To do this stretch, push your arm into your chest and across your body. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat a few times for each shoulder. This can be an effective way to relieve your pain.

  1. Drink more water.

You might not feel as thirsty in the winter as you do in the summer. Yet that doesn’t mean it’s less important to drink enough water. Many medical pros recommend that you try increasing your intake of water during the winter months to prevent shoulder pain and other symptoms. Proper hydration can also benefit your shoulder by thinning your blood, helping lubricate joints better and cutting inflammation. 

  1. Take a warm bath.

When you have shoulder pain during winter, you can relax by taking a bath. This also allows the hot water to ease shoulder tension and boost blood flow. Both of these results can help cut shoulder pain. Don’t want to get wet? Heating pads or hot water bottles can also be used to achieve these results. If you do apply heat to your shoulder, be careful. Make sure the temperature isn’t too high as this could burn your skin. 

  1. Make your bed more comfy.

A comfortable and supportive bed can be helpful for wintertime shoulder pain. There are also ways you can increase the comfort and support of your bed. One is to consider purchasing a new mattress if you sleep on an old one. You can also try changing your sleeping position. For instance, side sleepers can try sleeping on their back. You can also use extra pillows to prop your body in a comfortable position; this can help keep you from rolling onto a painful shoulder while you’re asleep. 

  1. Use your pillow correctly.

It’s a good idea to make sure your pillow supports your head and neck properly. For instance, your head shouldn’t be sinking into it too deeply. Also, make sure your pillow isn’t causing your shoulders to hunch forward while you sleep. Spending too long in this position could lead to a shoulder impingement.

Need to have your shoulder pain evaluated? Rehab Access PT can help

Our Rehab Access Physical Therapy team can show you how to reduce shoulder pain during the winter and beyond. They can do a free screening on you to uncover the root causes of your shoulder pain. They can also build you a unique physical therapy plan intended to ease your symptoms and help prevent them from coming back. 

Contact our team today to learn more about our shoulder treatment services or to set up a free screening.