Shoulder pain can be debilitating. If you’ve injured your shoulder or experience chronic shoulder pain, you may feel hesitant to move your arm at all. But movement is the key to healing and reducing pain in the long term.
Stretching your shoulder is a great place to start. Stretching can help increase blood flow to the muscles and connective tissue around the joint, which helps reduce inflammation and stiffness. It also helps improve mobility in your range of motion, so you can move more freely with less pain.
Whether you’ve injured your rotator cuff or are experiencing general tightness and discomfort in your shoulders, these stretches can help alleviate pain and increase mobility.
1. Standing Shoulder Opener
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and draw your shoulders away from your ears. Interlace your fingers behind you and press your palms together. Slowly lift your arms, keeping them as straight as possible, until you feel a slight stretch. Hold for 30 seconds.
2. Shoulder Stretch With Backbend
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and place your hands on the back of the seat of a chair or a table, or on a countertop. Lean back slightly, allowing your chest to open and shoulders to relax. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat two or three times if you wish.
3. Chair Yoga Pose
Sit in a chair with both feet on the floor and arms at your sides. Take a deep breath in, lift both arms over head and interlace all ten fingers together. Exhale slowly as you lower both arms to the right side of your body, keeping them straight and keeping shoulders relaxed. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides. Repeat one or two more times if you wish.
4. Thoracic Extension
Thoracic extension is the first step to getting more mobility in your shoulders because it helps loosen up your upper back muscles and align your spine so you can rotate and reach overhead safely.
Lie on your stomach with a foam roller underneath your mid-back and arms outstretched overhead. Roll up onto one arm until you feel pressure on the mid-back area between the bottom of your shoulder blades and the top of your rib cage. If you feel anything painful or sharp, stop immediately. Slowly rock left and right for about 30 seconds to loosen up this area of your back, then roll yourself off the roller.