Stretches and Exercises for Shoulder Pain

There are millions of people with shoulder pain. Most people will experience it at some point in their lives. Most shoulder pain can be effectively treated with self-treatment and home remedies. Take charge of your healing with these effective shoulder pain treatments. 

Shoulder Pain: When Should You See a Doctor? 

Most of the time, mild to moderate shoulder pain doesn’t require a doctor’s visit. Self-treatment is the standard recommendation for shoulder pain. But, sometimes, shoulder pain does require medical attention. If you were injured, it’s time to make an appointment or head to urgent care if your joint appears misshapen, you can’t move, and there is sudden swelling or intense pain. Make a doctor’s appointment if your shoulder pain has swelling, redness or sensitivity, and heat around the joint. Otherwise, try some of the self-treatment options listed below.

YouMari Self Treatment Program

The YouMari Self Treatment Program from BioFunctional Health Solutions can help you find relief and address the root cause or causes of your shoulder pain with stretching for tight muscles, relaxing, and pain-relieving self-massage and strengthening exercises. After a detailed assessment where you describe the location, intensity, and type of pain, how it affects your life, and what treatments help, YouMari will create a customized self-treatment program for you. You can do your YouMari self-treatment plan in the comfort of your own home. Here are some examples of the types of stretches, massages, and exercises YouMari gives you.

Massages for Shoulder Pain

Tools are often necessary for good self-massage. A standard tool for shoulder pain treatment is a tennis ball. (If you have a playful dog, try to do this away from them.) Try this easy technique if you have pain on your upper back or by your shoulder blades.

  1. Stand with your back facing a wall, or lay down on the floor.
  2. Slide the tennis ball between the wall or floor and your upper back. Do not place the ball directly on your bones—you want it in the softer muscle tissue.
  3. Roll your back up and down until the ball hits a tender spot.
  4. Either move the ball across the sore spot or hold steady and press the sore spot into the tennis ball. 
  5. Take deep, slow breaths to encourage your body to relax. 

Exercises for Shoulder Pain

This simple exercise is part exercise, part stretch. It relieves the pressure tight chest muscles can have on your upper back and shoulders. 

  1. Stand in a doorway and place your right forearm flat on the doorframe, making a 90-degree angle. 
  2. Take your right foot and step forward, keeping your arm on the doorframe. You should feel a stretch along the top and front of your chest.
  3. Repeat a few times.
  4. Move your elbow up or down, and step in the stretch again, stretching a different part of your chest.
  5. As you stretch, take deep, slow breaths. 
  6. Repeat on the other side. 

Stretches for Shoulder Pain

All this simple stretch takes is some floor space. If you don’t have a carpet or a rug, lay out a yoga mat or blanket to lie on. If you have pets, prepare for their curiosity as you lay on the floor.

  1. Lay on your left side.
  2. Bend your knees at a comfortable angle. 
  3. Reach both arms straight out, with the right hand on the left. 
  4. Look at your right hand and lift it.
  5. Move the right hand in an arch over to the right side.
  6. Try to have both shoulder blades on the floor as your chest opens.
  7. Use a pillow or folded towel on the right side of your right arm won’t go to the floor.
  8. Adjust your knees as needed and use padding between them if needed to get comfortable.
  9. Once comfortable, take ten deep, slow breaths. 
  10. Repeat on the other side.

Hot and Cold Therapy

You can use heat and ice to help your shoulder pain. If you were injured, start ice immediately, but hold off on heat until 2-3 days after your injury.

  1. Use a soft ice pack covered in a cloth or cold pads from a drug store. Apply for 15-20 minutes every 3-4 hours to help manage pain and inflammation. 
  2. Use a heating pad, heat packs from a drug store, or a hot shower to apply warmth and heat to the affected area for 15-20 minutes every 2-4 hours. 

Be safe and set a timer if you’re sleepy when using heat or cold therapy. Never fall asleep while using ice or especially a heating pad. 

Epsom Salts

Epsom salts contain magnesium, which helps muscles relax. This is a safe, cheap, and effective remedy for shoulder pain. Run a hot bath, add 1-4 cups of Epsom salts, and soak for 10-20 minutes. Lavender essential oil is also suitable for muscle pain and relaxation—try adding a few drops to your bath. If you can’t or don’t want to take a bath, consider soaking your feet in an Epsom salt solution.