Shoulder Physical Therapy - 5 Stretches To Relieve Pain

By Team Movement For Life | June 26, 2018


Shoulder pain is one of the most overlooked problems, and more often than not, we tend to shrug it off as something that gets better on its own. But as with any physical injury, if we leave it alone, it can become a big problem in the long run, which is why you might want to consider getting help from a physical therapist to help resolve your shoulder pain. Typically, one of the main types of exercises a therapist will give you is stretching. Stretches work on improving flexibility and relieving tension in your shoulders, reducing pain and restoring normalcy. For shoulder physical therapy issues, here are five common and effective stretches to relieve shoulder pain that your physical therapist might suggest.


Video: Shoulder Physical Therapy- 5 Stretches To Relieve Pain


1) Shoulder Rolls

This is one of the most natural stretches to relieve shoulder tension. To perform this correctly, stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, and let your arms hang loosely by your side. Roll your shoulders forward, then upward, and finally backward in a fluid motion. Repeat this smoothly around ten times, and then perform the rolls from back to front.


2) Arm Circles

Much like the shoulder rolls, arm circles also improve flexibility in the shoulder and relieve tensed muscles. To perform arm circles, make sure that you have enough space around you to hold your arms out straight. Stand with your back straight, and stretch your right arm out in front of you. In a circular motion, lift your arm straight up without bending it at the elbow, then rotate it all the way back to bring it to the initial position. Repeat this movement around ten times on each side.


3) Forward Bends

This exercise helps relax the back of your shoulders, and works wonders after you’ve had a long day at work. Stand with your feet wide apart, stretch your arms backward, and lock your palms behind your back. Open your chest and bend forward at the hips, simultaneously lifting your locked hands over your head. Bend as much as you can and hold this pose for a few seconds before you get back up. This particular exercise is great for shoulder physical therapy pain relief.


4) Shoulder-neck Stretches

This is one of the most basic stretches, and it’s something most people perform naturally in order to relieve painful shoulders. To perform these stretches, bend your head to the right, trying to touch your right shoulder with your right ear. Exert gentle pressure on your left temple to further stretch your head to the right. Hold this pose till you feel the muscles in your left neck and shoulder stretching, and then repeat this on the other side.


5) Cross-arm stretch

Another effective stretch that’s easy to perform, the cross-arm stretch requires you to stand up straight and stretch your right arm across your chest without bending the elbow. Use your left arm to gently pull your right arm until you feel a comfortable pull at your right shoulder. Hold this pose for a few seconds and then repeat the stretch on the other side.

As always, remember that even though most of these stretches can be performed at home, it’s advisable to consult with a physical therapist if your shoulder pain is unbearable or chronic, or refuses to go away over time. A medical professional’s opinion and assistance can help you get to the root of the problem and eliminate it if possible.


What if the pain continues?

If you are having shoulder joints pain, you will want to consult your physical therapist. If you are having frozen shoulder issues see our other blog post. Often times, when we injury our shoulder it might involve shoulder blade injuries or it might involve some issues around external rotation in the shoulders. Again if you want to relieve shoulder pain through physical therapy for shoulders, try these exercises to relief pain but if it continues visit your local physical therapist.