7 Stretches for Shoulder Pain Relief
In this post I want to show you a series of stretches for shoulder pain, which you can easily do at home to relieve the symptoms and treat the root cause of your condition.
Shoulder pain is very common, affecting most people at some point in their life. There are many potential causes of shoulder pain, including: frozen shoulder, tendinitis, arthritis, shoulder impingement or instability, and various disorders of the rotator cuff.
For any serious problem, your first stop should always be to consult a doctor or physical therapist, who will be able to diagnose your specific condition and prescribe the best treatment.
Why you should do shoulder stretches for pain relief
For many people, especially those with chronic conditions, treatment might consist mainly of pain management through long-term reliance on painkillers.
Using painkillers is not a viable long-term solution, requiring higher and higher doses and never treating the root cause.
I really hope in this post to be able to help long-term sufferers find relief for their shoulder pain through daily practice of these simple passive stretches.
How to do stretches for shoulder pain
For these exercises you will need to use a shoulder pulley, which is a cheap and simple device, specially designed for passive shoulder pain relief stretches.
To use the pulley, simply secure it at the top of any door frame with the door anchor, as shown here:
7 Stretches for Shoulder Pain Relief
These passive shoulder stretches are safe and effective for pain relief and gentle strengthening of the shoulder muscles. But if you have any doubt whatsoever about their suitability, please consult a physical therapy professional.
The exercises should be done in the order shown below. However, depending on the severity of your condition, you may not be able to do them all straightaway.
Start with stretch #1, and only when you’re comfortable with this should you progress to the next. Listen to your body and go slowly. If it takes several weeks to progress through all the exercises, that is fine.
Attach the pulley at the top of the door frame and sit in a chair facing the door. Holding both handles, pull back with one arm (the unaffected one). This will pull the other arm up and forward, gently stretching the painful shoulder. Hold for several seconds in the final position, relaxing into the stretch.
This time you do the same exercise, except with your chair turned 90 degrees. Pull your arm out to the side and up, again holding the final stretch for several seconds.
Turn your chair again so you’re facing away from the door. Now pull the affected arm straight up in front of you, stretching the painful shoulder in this position.
Keeping the chair in the same place, move the position of your arm so it’s pointing away from your body at a 45 degree angle. Stretch the shoulder up again in this position.
In this movement, you again stretch the shoulder upwards, but now your arm is positioned right out to the side of your body.
Now move the chair away and stand side-on to the door with the affected arm behind your back, as shown here. Gently pull the arm upwards as high as you comfortably can. As always, hold the final position for several seconds, gently easing yourself into a deeper stretch.
The final movement is a rotational stretch. Use the pulley to rotate the affected arm outwards, stretching as far as possible without too much pain. Keep the elbow of the affected arm close in to your body without moving it. Holding a rolled up towel between your elbow and body can help with this.
Using resistance bands to relieve shoulder pain
The above stretches should hopefully be enough to relieve your shoulder pain permanently.
You can also use resistance bands to relieve shoulder pain through simple strengthening exercises. The best kind of bands to use for this are 2-meter long physical therapy bands:
To find out how to relieve shoulder pain with resistance bands, I recommend you read my post on physio shoulder exercises.
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