Life is indeed full of ironies, and we don’t even need to look too far in order to see it. The human body carries one of life’s most puzzling ironies. For instance, did you know that next to the knee, our shoulders are the most useful and important joints in our bodies? Yet for joints that perform monumental everyday tasks such as lifting, reaching, pulling and pushing, it is also the weakest joint in the body.
The human shoulder – both flexible and vulnerable
Our shoulders are the most flexible joints in the body. The normal range of motion for healthy shoulders is about 90 degrees. This is much more than how we are able to move other joints in our bodies such as hips, ankles and wrists. Yet it is also due to its mobility and flexibility that makes a shoulder weak and vulnerable to pain and injuries.
Shoulder pain is common. According to the World Health Organization, nine percent of all adults in the United States suffer from chronic shoulder pains. This means that out of 10 people in the USA, one of them will suffer from shoulder pains. That’s nothing to shrug about.
The symptoms of shoulder pain
There are many types and causes of shoulder pain, but as a broad generalisation, shoulder pain is a result of injury or aging. As we get older, the soft tissues in our shoulders break down from wear and tear through the years. Generally, when we’re younger, we are more active and play more sports, so overuse of the shoulder can degenerate the shoulder tissues, which causes pain.
In rare cases, shoulder pain is actually a sign that you have underlying issues that need to be checked by a physician immediately. When your shoulder pain travels from your shoulders down to your arm or elbows or even the fingertips, this is an indication that the pain is caused by a more serious issue or disease. This can mean that the pain is nerve-related, and this can be related to one of the following:
- Spine disorder
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
If your shoulder or arm pain is consistent, it is best that you get yourself seen by a physician.
Common causes of shoulder pain
With the exception of pain caused by an underlying issue (as described above) and shoulder pain caused by an injury, these are the most common causes of mild shoulder pain:
Bursitis – This type of pain is also known as rotator cuff tendonitis. When shoulders are subjected to repetitive motions, it puts pressure on the bursae around the joints. This is what causes pain in the shoulders. The bursa protects the tendons in the shoulder, and when the shoulders get overused, the bursa gets irritated and inflamed. This not only causes pain but also swelling and tenderness in the area.
Calcific tendonitis – From its name, this type of shoulder pain is caused by calcium deposits in the shoulder joints. When this happens, the tissue around the deposits become inflamed, which causes significant shoulder pain. The exact cause of this is yet to be known, and it is not related to diet, osteoporosis or injury.
Frozen shoulder – Known to affect people within the 50-60 age bracket, this is one of the most common types and causes of shoulder pain. Frozen shoulder is the result of inflammation, scarring, thickening and shrinkage of the capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint. This condition causes the capsules of the shoulder joints to thicken and tighten, hence the term.
Rotator cuff tears – When shoulder joints are overused, it can lead to degeneration and chronic inflammation. This then causes rotator cuff tears, also known as wear and tear on the shoulder tendons.
The top treatment for minor shoulder pain
Shoulder pain may be a common affliction, but the good news is that this can be cured or relieved through rest and ice therapy.
The RICE method is a reliable remedy that has relieved shoulder pains for decades. Here is how it works:
Rest – As soon as you feel the pain in your shoulders, you must stop physical movements that involve your shoulders, especially lifting or rotating.
Ice – You must apply ice or cold therapy to the affected area for 20 minutes at least four times a day.
Compress – Either during your ice session or directly afterwards, apply compress to the painful area in order to reduce the swelling.
Elevate – In the case of shoulder pain, avoid lying down and try to rest with the shoulders in as upright a position as possible.
What are the qualities of the best shoulder ice packs?
Now that we’ve established that ice therapy is what will alleviate shoulder pain, it’s time to search for the best shoulder ice pack that you can buy. There are plenty available in the market, both online or in-stores, but not all of them are quality products. To save you time, we’ve done the shoulder work for you by compiling a list of things you should look for in a shoulder ice pack.
Here are the types of shoulder ice packs that will bring you the best value:
A durable shoulder ice pack
This sounds like a simple, no-brainer requirement, but you won’t believe how overlooked this factor is when people search for shoulder ice packs. Some believe that they will only use the shoulder ice pack once, but the harsh reality is that no matter how careful we are, the chances of having multiple shoulder pains happening to us in our lifetime is very high. This is why a durable, long-lasting shoulder ice pack is good value.
This Premium Reusable Shoulder Ice Pack by Magic Gel is constructed with strong vinyl that is resistant to tears and splitting, and this gives the ice pack at least five years’ worth of multiple uses. This shoulder pack will also give you a minimum of two years safe and leak-free use. Always consider a shoulder ice pack’s longevity and multi-use when shopping.
A flexible shoulder ice pack
The shoulder is a complex joint that makes it hard for anything to be wrapped around it. Ice packs that are flexible are important so that you can relieve the shoulders from pain effectively and immediately. All of Magic Gel’s shoulder ice packs are flexible from frozen, meaning that the special gel formulation inside these packs allow the shoulder packs to be ready and flexible straight out of the freezer. Their flexibility allows them to completely cover the affected area, from the shoulders, to the neck and upper chest area.
Shoulder ice packs that stay cool for more than 20 minutes
As mentioned previously, timing is essential when applying cold therapy to shoulder pain. Take into consideration the inner material in the ice pack is made of. For instance, this Premium Shoulder Ice Pack is created with the thickest viscous gel, which means that even if it retains a consistently cool temperature for up to 25 minutes, it never gets in a frozen state. What this essentially means for you is that you get your full 20-minute treatment without having to worry whether you are under or over-exposing your shoulders to ice relief.
A shoulder ice pack that is made with high-quality material
Good value doesn’t always mean eschewing quality for price. There are plenty of cheap shoulder ice packs available in the market, but if you take a good look at the material they are made from, they are made from poor-quality nylon and with seams and stitching exposed, leaving the wearer uncomfortable.
This Shoulder Pain Relief Cold Wrap is made meticulously with high-standard material, and the straps are made from recessed high-grade Velcro. There are also no exposed edges at all, and the strap also has super-grip connections which provide a secure fit that will come in handy for compression.
Quality shoulder ice packs shouldn’t break the bank
Needless to say, a good value shoulder ice pack is one that won’t break your bank, or your shoulders further. Do your due diligence before purchasing shoulder ice packs. Generally speaking, those that are of good value would have plenty of reviews online. We’d advise you to read the reviews carefully so you can see what people complain or rave about the product.
Shoulder pain may be inevitable, but with the right information and quality shoulder ice packs at your side, it can surely be manageable and affordable.
Shoulder pains are quite common, especially for physically active people and for all of us who are ageing. If you need help or recommendations on the best shoulder packs to use, please get in touch with us!