4 Effective Exercises and Stretches to Relieve Shoulder Pain

We put a lot of strain on our shoulders, including the ability to reach, lift, hold, carry, press, and pull. With all of this activity, it’s not surprising that we have some shoulder discomfort in our lives. If left untreated, shoulder pain can develop into a chronic problem that interferes with daily activities such as carrying groceries, getting dressed, or combing your hair.

The shoulder, contrary to popular belief, is more than just a single joint. The shoulder is made up of several joints that work together with the tendon and muscles to provide the rotation and stability we’re all used to. Many other body parts can be involved in the shoulder complex, including:

  • Neck

  • Ribs

  • Scapula (shoulder blade)

  • Clavicle

  • The thoracic region of the spine

  • Humerus

Causes of Shoulder Pain

Some of the common causes of shoulder pain are arthritis, impingement, instability, and overuse. Other common causes of shoulder pain may include:

  1. Rotator cuff tendonitis -A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles responsible for shoulder support and movement. The tendons connect to the arm bone beneath the bony prominence of the shoulder blade. Rotator cuff tendonitis can become pinched beneath this bone, causing inflammation and pain.

  2. Biceps tendonitis – The biceps tendon connects the biceps muscle in your upper arm to the front of your shoulder. Because of the bony anatomy of the shoulder blade or ligaments that attach to the collarbone and shoulder blade, this tendon can become pinched.

  3. Bursitis – When the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that allows body structures to glide smoothly over one another, becomes pinched, shoulder bursitis occurs. Between the humerus bone and the shoulder blade is a bursa.

  4. Frozen shoulder – Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition in which the shoulder becomes painful and gradually loses motion as a result of inactivity, a worsening rheumatic disease, a lack of fluid to help the shoulder move, or bands of tissue that grow in the joint and restrict motion.

Top 5 Exercises to Relieve Shoulder Pain

The shoulder joint is the most excellently crafted in the human body. It is responsible for providing you with both the mobility to move your arm 360 degrees and the stability to allow all of the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that comprise the shoulder to work together.

Injury to any of the parts of the shoulder is likely to result in pain or loss of mobility. If you have shoulder pain, try these exercises to help you feel better. Always consult an orthopedic doctor if your shoulder pain does not improve after several days of rest, ice, massage, and elevation.

  1. Arm-across-Chest Stretch- Keep your right hand out in front of you, near your waist. Pull your right arm to the left and across your chest with your left hand behind your elbow. If you have shoulder pain, lower your arm until the pain goes away. The goal is to be able to pull your right arm across your chest painlessly. Hold for 30-60 seconds before relaxing and repeating with your left arm. Repeat 3-5 times more.

  2. Neck Release – Sit up straight and start bringing your chin to your chest until you feel a stretch in the back of your neck. Stretch your right shoulder by leaning your head to the left, or your left shoulder by leaning your head to the right. Hold the stretches for one minute in each direction, breathing deeply while focusing on relaxation. Repeat 3-5 times more. Elevate your arm as you pull it across your chest to the height of your shoulder to progress the stretch.

  1.  Chest Expansion – With both hands grasp an exercise band, rope, strap, or even a tie behind your back. Draw your shoulder blades toward each other and gently lift your chin toward the ceiling while holding the strap. Breathe deeply for 10 to 15 seconds before exhaling. Repeat 3-5 times more. Move your hands closer together on the strap to increase the stretch.

If you’re looking for more shoulder stretches than the ones mentioned above, try the stretches listed below.

1. Eagle arms spinal rolls

2. Shoulder circles

3. Downward Dog Pose

4. Child’s Pose

5. Thread the needle

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