10 Shoulder Pain Relief Exercises

Shoulder Pain Relief Exercises

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Tight or stiff shoulder can cause you a great deal of discomfort. In fact in some cases, it can greatly interfere with your mobility. In most cases, shoulder pains are caused by poor sitting positions, sleeping on your sides, weight lifting, lack of exercise etc. If the stiffness and tightness in the neck region goes unchecked it can become detrimental as the tension may cause fatal headaches. It is therefore important that you learn some basic exercises, stretches and yoga poses that you can perform at home to relieve shoulder pain.

Exercises for Shoulder Pain with Pictures

Neck stretches

Neck stretches

Shoulder pains may be caused by some tension in your neck region. It is therefore important that you focus on this area in order to keep your shoulder at ease. The following are steps that will help you stretch your neck:

  • Stand straight while keeping your legs apart, hip-width.
  • Hang your hands down by the sides
  • Keep looking forward
  • While in this position tip your head to the right as you try to touch your right ear to the right shoulder.
  • You will feel the stretch on your neck’s left side as well as your shoulder. Every time you do this, remember to hold on to the position for about ten seconds.
  • Repeat this process for about three times on each side

Shoulder rolls

Shoulder rolls

Shoulders roll are important in keeping blood circulation around your shoulders. It also helps ease the tension around your shoulders. For shoulder rolls follow these steps:

  • Stand at ease, keeping your fee hip-width apart
  • Hang your hands down at the sides of your body
  • Start breathing in while at the same time lifting your shoulders upwards
  • Start moving your shoulders back while at the same time squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • As you breath out, drop your shoulders backwards
  • Start moving your elbow forward as you feel the stretch at the back on your shoulders.
  • Repeat this process for about ten times.

Pendulum stretch

Pendulum stretch

Just like a pendulum this form of exercise largely relies on gravity to help you ease the tension on your shoulders. These are the steps to follow:

  • With your feet hip-width apart, stand at ease
  • Start leaning forward then look downwards
  • Support your right hand on a chair or table to achieve some stability
  • As you do this, let your left arm hang down
  • While in this position, gently swing your left arm in circular motions as you let gravity take over most of the action
  • Keep doing this for about one minute
  • Change the direction of your movement
  • You can then repeat the same process on your other arm.

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Cross body arm swings

Cross body arm swings

Arms swings are important in reliving shoulder pain since they warm up the joints and increase shoulder movement. The following are the steps to perform arm swings.

  • As you stand with your legs hip-width apart, breathe in and keep your hands up to the sides as you squeeze the shoulder blades together
  • Breathe out and bring your hands towards each other gently
  • While keeping both arms straight, bring in your right arm under your left arm
  • Breathe out and swing your hands out to the sides as you squeeze the shoulder blades together
  • Breathe out and once more, swing your hands towards each other
  • This time round, ensure your left arm is under your right arm as you keep them straight
  • Repeat this process for about ten times

Cross body shoulder stretch

Cross body shoulder stretch

This is an exercise that is meant to help extend the back of your shoulder. Doing so will help relax the shoulder muscles and thus ease out the pain experienced around the shoulder joints. The following are the steps to do this stretch:

  • Stretch your hands straight out as you stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bring in your right hand across your body to a point where the hand point to the floor on the left leg side
  • Bend your left hand at the elbow
  • While hooking your left forearm under the right hand, support the right hand just above the elbow
  • Using your left forehand pull your right hand way further across and in the body as you stretch the back of the right shoulder
  • Hold on to this position and then repeat the same process on the other side.

Child’s Pose

Child's Pose

Ever seen how a child poses? Well, in this case, you will be replicating the same but this time, this is meant to help you stretch the back of your shoulders. To do this, follow the following steps:

  • Kneel on a mat or simply on the ground
  • Ensure that your toes touch each other
  • Spread your knees away
  • While sitting up straight, breathe in and reach for your hands above your head
  • Breathe out and then bow forward, down to the floor
  • Go all the way to touch he ground using your hands
  • Go ahead to bring in your elbows to the ground
  • Sitting back, bring in the bottom of your back towards your heels
  • Feeling the stretch at your shoulders, start breathing heavily and hold on to this position for about one minute

Ragdoll Pose

Ragdoll Pose

The ragdoll pose is a popular yoga-like pose that has been proven to help ease the tension around your shoulders. To do this, follow the following steps:

  • Standing with your fee hip-width high, start bending your knees slightly
  • Try to reach for your toes by bending forward
  • In order to support your lower back, ensure that you keep your stomach against your bent knees
  • Bend each hand to touch on the elbow of the other hand
  • As you do this, your heads crown should be pointing towards the ground
  • Your head at this point should be hanging heavily this helping release the tension on the shoulder and neck regions
  • Keep staying in this position for about one minute or more

Eagle arm stretch

Eagle arm stretch

If you have done yoga before, then you must have heard about the Eagle Pose. Well, this exercise is inspired by the eagle pose. It helps increase relaxation and flexibility around your shoulders. The following are the steps to the eagle arm stretch.

  • Standing at ease with your feet hip-width apart, breathe in and swing your hands towards your body
  • Let your right hand cross under your left
  • Let your left elbow cradle in the crook of your right elbow
  • If your palms reach, bring them together, if not then simply hold the back of your hands together
  • Breath in and out four times
  • You can then release this stretch and do the same for the other side

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Cow face pose

Cow face pose

This is another yoga stretch that has proved effective in helping alleviate shoulder pains. The following are steps to follow when doing the Cow Face pose:

  • While standing at ease, go for your right arm straight up
  • Bend your right hand at the elbow
  • As you keep your elbow raised go for your right hand well over the head and then down the back
  • While stretching your left hand towards the ground, try reaching for your left arm behind your back
  • Bring in your right and left hands together as you clasp them if that feels fine for you
  • Take about four deep breaths
  • Let go of this stretch and repeat the same for the other side

Side lying thoracic rotation

Side lying thoracic rotation

As much as Side-lying thoracic rotation may seem like a complicated process, it is actually one of the simplest exercises to do. It helps improve flexibility around your shoulders and thoracic spine.

  • Lying on your side on the ground, bend your knees slightly and keep you right arm straight ahead
  • With your left hand on top of your right, reach for your left hand
  • Start rotating your left hand downwards as you keep your hips and knees pointing towards the right.
  • Bring in your left hand to touch with the right
  • Keep repeating these drawing motions severally
  • You can then practice it with the other side for better results

With these exercises, you can rest assured of pain relieve from your shoulders. Make this habit and see the results for yourself.

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Shoulder Pain Exercises PDF

Click on the button to download PDF file of shoulder pain relief exercises.


Author Bio:

Author Name- Dr. Lucas J. Bader

Dr. Lucas J. Bader MD, MBA is a board certified Orthopaedic surgeon specializing in the surgical and non surgical treatment of osteoarthritis. For the past 20 years, Dr. Bader have spent countless hours combing through massive amounts of information, studying under musculoskeletal masters, and exchanging ideas with other experts to bring you the best strategies to help you accelerate your recovery from injury, prevent chronic disease, and invigorate your musculoskeletal health and fitness.