The shoulder joint is the most complex joint in the human body. It is tasked with giving you both the mobility to move your arm 360 degrees, as well as the stability that allows all the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that make up the shoulder to work together.
With all of parts that make up the shoulder, it’s common to experience pain or loss of mobility due to injury. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, try these exercises to help relieve your pain. Remember to always see a doctor if you experience shoulder pain that is not relieved by several days of rest, ice, massage, and elevation.
1. Arm-across-Chest Stretch – Hold your right hand out in front of you, keeping it near your waist. Reach your left hand behind your elbow, pulling your right arm to the left and across your chest. If you feel pain in your shoulder, lower your arm until the pain subsides. The goal is to be able to pull your right arm across your chest without feeling any pain. Hold for 30-60 seconds then relax and repeat with your left arm. Repeat 3-5 times.
2. Neck Release – Sit up straight then slowly bring your chin toward your chest until you feel the stretch in the back of your neck. Try leaning your head to the left to stretch your right shoulder or leaning your head to the right to stretch your left shoulder. Hold the stretches up to one minute in each direction, breathing deeply as you concentrate on relaxing. Repeat 3-5 times.
To progress the stretch, elevate your arm as you pull it across your chest until it is the height of your shoulder.
3. Chest Expansion – Put an exercise band, rope, strap, or even a tie behind your back and grasp it with both hands. While holding the strap, draw your shoulder blades toward each other and gently lift your chin toward the ceiling. Breathe deeply for 10 to 15 seconds and release. Repeat 3-5 times.
To progress the stretch, move your hands closer together on the strap.
4. Seated Twist – Sit straight up in a chair with your knees together. Twist your torso to the right, placing your left hand on the outside of your right thigh. Relax your shoulders as you look towards your right, gentling pushing on your right thigh. Breathe deeply for 10 to 15 seconds and release. Repeat with your left side. Repeat both sides 3-5 times.
5. The 90, 90 Shoulder Stretch – Stand in a doorway, holding your arms up so your elbow is at a 90 degree angle and your arm forms a 90 degree angle to your body at the shoulder. Place each hand on one of the sides of the door frame, placing one foot forward as you stand up straight aligning your neck with your spine. Lean forward as you brace yourself against the door frame. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.