Chronic shoulder instability is often first treated with nonsurgical
options. Your doctor will develop a treatment plan to relieve your
It may take several months of nonsurgical treatment before you
can tell how well it is working. Nonsurgical treatment typically
- Activity modification—Certain lifestyle changes will be required, such as avoiding all activities that aggravate your symptoms.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication—Drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen will help to reduce your pain and swelling.
- Physical therapy—Your therapist will
design a home exercise program that will help you strengthen your
shoulder muscles and improve shoulder control for increased stability.
Although it’s natural to react to shoulder pain by not moving the
shoulder, this can, unfortunately, lead to complete loss of shoulder
mobility. Rehabilitation will help decrease pain and
swelling and prevent the development of ongoing, or chronic, shoulder
problems. Along with exercise, massage, ultrasound and electrical
stimulation can also be used to help control pain and swelling. At first, rehabilitation may involve active range of
motion or controlled movements of your shoulder joint without
resistance. Water exercises, such as arm circles or shoulder rolls, are
sometimes used if other exercises are too painful.
Once you’re pain-free, other exercises may be added, such as agility
and endurance building activities. The goal here is to increase
strength and range of motion as ligaments recover.
Bone & Joint Center