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3 Stretches for Shoulder Pain

3 Stretches for Shoulder Pain

shoulder pain stretches

Shoulder pain is a common condition.


Because the shoulder needs movement to remain healthy, when shoulder pain occurs, a person’s first response to pain is guard or restrict movement to avoid pain.

Unfortunately, without movement, your shoulder can begin to develop a condition called adhesive capsulitis or as most people know it as, “frozen shoulder”. Frozen shoulder affects approximately 4% of the population and typically people between the ages of 40 – 50 years old.

It is estimated that 9% of the population will suffer shoulder pain at some point in time, and approximately 25% of adults over the age of 50 experience more chronic shoulder pain.


There are many factors that contribute to shoulder pain that may include:

  • Injury – overuse, sprain/strain, ligament tears, and other injuries can occur at the shoulder and surrounding areas, and/or rotator cuff muscle tears
  • Arthritis – inflammation that affects the joints of the body that may be caused by age, “wear and tear”, or a chronic autoimmune disorder called rheumatoid arthritis
  • Bursitis – Bursitis is a flat, fluid filled sac that when damaged can become inflamed
  • Shoulder Impingement – a condition that can be caused by overuse, arthritis, or poor posture that can lead to degeneration of the joint or bone spurs around the joint that may restrict movement and cause pain during movement


Persistent or chronic shoulder pain should always be evaluated by a doctor, especially pain that is sharp, burning, has pain that radiates or travels down the arm, or restricts movement.

However, some shoulder pain can be relieved by performing simple stretches that can help free up or strengthen the muscles that support the shoulder.


3 Stretches to Help with Shoulder Pain


cross body stretch

Cross-Body Stretch – Raise your right arm directly out in front of you like you are pointing at something on the horizon. Place your left hand under and on the outside of your right elbow and gently pull your arm to the left across your chest; if you feel pain, lower your arm until it subsides.

Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds and repeat 3-5 times with each arm.


trapezius stretch

Trapezius Stretch – Slowly and with ease, take your right ear toward your right shoulder. It’s natural for your left shoulder to lift as you do this. If that happens, ease your head back toward center until you can relax your left shoulder back down.

Lift your right hand up and over your head, resting your hand on your left cheekbone. Do not pull on your head now, though. Simply rest your hand there for just slightly more pressure. This very gently stretches your upper trapezius.

Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds then switch sides.


open book stretch

Open Book Stretch – Lay on your side with both arms directly out in front of you and your top knee bent at 90 degrees, placed on the floor to stabilize the position. Open your chest by rotating the top arm and bringing your top shoulder to the floor.

Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds per rep, performing 10 reps on each side.


Following an at-home stretching regimen can help mitigate or prevent minor shoulder pain. However, if you have pain or discomfort that lasts for more than a few days and cannot be treated with at-home remedies—like ice, massage, and stretching—you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.


Xcell Medical Group combines all of our shoulder therapy treatment plans with a combination of comprehensive therapeutic exercises, chiropractic care, and medical massage to achieve maximum results with our program!

To learn more about our Comprehensive Shoulder Treatment Options, contact our team at Xcell Medical Group in Elyria, Ohio.


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