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DR LAURA RYAN: How to treat a sore or injured shoulder – the Scottish doctor's advice includes rest and gentle movement in the first 48 hours with a slow return to normal activity afterwards


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Gentle movement can help an injured shoulder recover.
Gentle movement can help an injured shoulder recover.

Q. I’ve overdone it gardening over the weekend, how do I treat an injured shoulder?

A. Within the first 24-48 hours after a shoulder problem you should try to:

• rest your shoulder but avoid long spells of not moving at all

• move your shoulder gently for a short period every hour when you’re awake

After 48 hours:

• slowly return to normal activity

• do whatever you normally would and stay at, or return to, work – this is important and is the best way to get better

Pain medication can help to reduce the pain and help you move more comfortably, which can help your recovery.

Speak to your community pharmacist or other healthcare professional about taking medication or other methods of pain relief. It’s important to take medication regularly.

If, after following the above advice, your shoulder problem hasn’t improved within two weeks a referral to a physiotherapist may be of benefit.

Q. What can I do to avoid bee stings, and what should I do if I get one?

A. Using insect repellent and keeping your skin covered when outdoors will help you avoid being bitten or stung. Try not to panic if you encounter wasps, hornets or bees, and back away slowly.

Most bites and stings are treated by washing the affected area with soap and water and placing a cold compress over the area.

Try not to scratch the affected area. If you’re in pain take painkillers.

See your GP if there’s a lot of swelling and blistering or pus. Dial 999 and ask for an ambulance if you experience any of these symptoms: wheezing or difficulty breathing; nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea; a fast heart rate; dizziness or feeling faint; difficulty swallowing; confusion, anxiety or agitation.

ABOUT THE DOC: Dr Laura Ryan, who is NHS 24’s medical director and has 20 years experience as a doctor, answers readers’ questions in our column.

GET IN TOUCH: You can write to Dr Ryan by sending an email to newsdesk@highlandnews.co.uk with Ask The Doc in the subject line or by post to Ask The Doc, Newsdesk, Suite 3.04, Moray House, 16-18 Bank Street, Inverness, IV1 1QY.


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