Shoulder pain that won’t go away

Health Q & A with Dr. Michael Jacobson, D.O.

From the June 2019 issue of Heartfelt Magazine.

Q: Two weeks ago I bench pressed 40 pounds (I do not bench press regularly) and have had constant pain in my right shoulder ever since. There was no pain until four days later. After that the pain worsened. I’ve tried ibuprofen and resting to no avail. Should I see a doctor or continue to care for my shoulder at home? I also ask for prayer as I am in severe pain and don’t know what to do.

A: Thank you for your question. The CHM staff and I are lifting you up in prayer. Given that it’s been almost two weeks, it sounds like you’ve injured or sprained your shoulder. I suggest that you see a sports medicine doctor and undergo therapy to maximize your potential for recovering full shoulder function.

Usually, icing it down for a few days and taking an anti-inflammatory drug are appropriate initial steps. Some argue that an anti-inflammatory actually blocks the body’s normal healing response, so they recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or other agents that don’t block inflammation.

Also, gentle range-of-motion (ROM) therapy is helpful, beginning with passive exercises (someone moving your shoulder through its ROM without you trying to use your muscles), particularly if there is much pain. When passive motion results in no significant pain, active ROM exercises can be attempted. What you want to achieve is motion without further injury.

Here are some resources than can be used for ROM:

If you have a health question for Dr. Jacobson, CHM Medical Director, please email it to This information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.

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