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3 ways to speed up your shoulder sprain recovery time

3 ways to speed up your shoulder sprain recovery time
3 minutes, 14 seconds

A shoulder sprain occurs when the ligaments that connect the collarbone to the shoulder joint are damaged. This injury can be caused by a fall, a sudden twisting motion, or as the result of repetitive stress. But no matter whether you hurt your shoulder playing basketball, in a car accident, or gardening, one thing is true: It hurts. Now, you’re wondering how long it will take to heal. In this article, we’ll answer that question. Let’s talk about shoulder sprain recovery time and some things you can do that may help you recover faster.

What is a shoulder sprain?

Before we talk about recovery time, let’s discuss a little more what a shoulder sprain is and why it hurts so bad. As we said above, this injury occurs when you damage the ligaments that connect your shoulder joint and collarbone. The damage in question might be a full tear, or you might have just overstretched your ligament. When you tear any ligament in your body, the fibrous tissue inside is exposed and starts to bleed. This creates swelling around your shoulder that presses up against your nerve endings, which send pain signals to your brain. Simultaneously, your body sends an increase of blood flow to your injury to help fight infection. This added fluid puts even more pressure on your nerve endings, increasing your pain. In addition, the process of your white blood cells fighting against potential infections creates waste products that, if not absorbed fully into your bloodstream, can increase inflammation and exacerbate your symptoms. Until all that fluid drains out, your ligaments cannot fully start to heal.

How long do shoulder sprains take to heal?

The general recovery time for a sprained shoulder is between four and six weeks, but it can take up to three months depending on the severity of the injury. Here are a few factors that affect shoulder sprain recovery times:

  • Injury severity — Sprains are graded on a scale from 1 to 3 with 1 being mild stretching and 3 being a complete tear. Grade 3 sprains take the longest to heal (although it’s still impossible to say exactly how long, as every situation is different).
  • Surgery — Some shoulder sprains need surgery, which can drastically increase your recovery time.
  • Treatment — The types of treatment used can affect recovery time.
  • Health — People with strong immune systems may find that they recover faster than those without.

How to speed up your shoulder sprain recovery time

Recovering from an injury involves a lot of waiting. That can be difficult to hear if you’re an athlete wanting to get back in the game or a worker wanting to get back to your job. However, there are a few things you can do that can help shorten your recovery time:

  1. Practice RICE — Rice is an acronym that stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. It is often prescribed by doctors as a supplement to other forms of treatment. Resting allows your injured shoulder time to heal while ice, compression and elevation all help reduce swelling.
  1. Sleep strategically — To avoid reinjuring your shoulder in your sleep, place one pillow under your affected arm to keep it elevated and one behind you to avoid rolling over while you’re asleep.
  1. Consult a physical therapist — A physical therapist can help you strengthen and mobilize your shoulder, which can relieve pain and help you avoid future injuries. They can also apply manual therapy techniques that relieve tension in your muscles and mobile your joints for reduced pain.

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for your sprained shoulder

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality treatment they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you restore strength and flexibility in your shoulder. Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.  Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition.

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