By: Marie Serrado
Shoulder pain is a common and disruptive issue that affects daily activities, and your quality of life. Whether the discomfort comes from an injury, poor posture, or overuse, incorporating targeted stretches can help alleviate the shoulder pain as well as help improve flexibility. In this blog post we will be discussing what causes shoulder pain, but also what stretches you can do in order to help alleviate the pain.
What Causes Shoulder Pain?
The most common cause of shoulder pain is when your rotator cuff tendons are trapped under the boney area of your shoulders. Which causes the tendons to be inflamed or damaged. Most shoulder pain falls under 4 categories:
- Tendon inflammation (bursitis or tendinitis) or tendon tear
- Fracture (broken bone)
Bursitis: are small, fluid-filled sacs that are located in joints throughout the body, including the shoulder. They act as cushions between bones and the overlying soft tissues, and help reduce friction between the gliding muscles and the bone.
Sometimes with excessive use of the shoulders it can lead to inflammation and swelling.
Tendonitis: Occurs when your tendons are either inflamed or swelling.
Whys Stretching Matters for Shoulder Pain
Stretches play a crucial role in managing shoulder pain by addressing the underlying factors that contribute to discomfort, promoting flexibility, and enhancing overall shoulder health. Stretching matters because it can help with
- Relief from Muscle Tension and Stiffness: shoulder pain often arises from muscle tension and tightness, which can limit your range of motion and cause discomfort.
- Enhanced Range of Motion: restricted range of motion can also cause discomfort in the shoulders. Regular stretching helps with joints and range of motion.
- Prevention of Overuse Injuries: Repetitive activities or overuse can lead to shoulder pain. Regular stretching can help prevent overuse injuries by maintaining muscle flexibility and reducing the risk of strain.
Stretches to help alleviate shoulder pain
Here are some effective stretches to help alleviate shoulder pain. Remember to perform these stretches gently and within your comfort range. If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop immediately and consult a healthcare professional.
- Cross Body Stretch:
The cross-body shoulder stretch helps extend the back of the shoulder. To do this stretch:
- Stand with the feet hip-width apart.
- Stretch the right arm out straight.
- Bring the right arm across the body, so that the hand points to the floor on the other side of the left leg.
- Bend the left arm at the elbow.
- Hook the left forearm under the right arm, supporting the right arm above the elbow.
- Use the left forearm to pull the right arm further in and across the body, stretching the back of the right shoulder.
- Hold this for 20 seconds, then repeat the stretch on the other side.
- Child’s Pose:
Child’s Pose is a gentle yoga pose that can help stretch the back of the shoulders. To do this pose:
- Kneel on the ground or a mat.
- Touch the big toes together.
- Spread the knees apart.
- Sit up straight.
- Inhale and reach the arms above the head.
- Exhale and bow forward, toward the floor, reaching the arms out in front.
- Touch the ground with the palms.
- Bring the elbows to the ground.
- Sit back, bringing the bottom of the back toward the heels.
- Feel the stretch in the back of the shoulders.
- Breathe deeply, and hold the position for 1 minute or longer.
- Lean forward and place one hand on a counter or table for support. Let your other arm hang freely at your side.
- Gently swing your arm forward and back. Repeat the exercise moving your arm side-to-side, and repeat again in a circular motion.
- Repeat the entire sequence with the other arm.
Tip: Do not round your back or lock your knees.
Remember to incorporate these stretches in your daily routine to help gradually alleviate shoulder pain and help with overall shoulder health. Try not to go over your limit, and if you feel discomfort or pain is gradually increasing, make sure to visit a healthcare provider or a physical therapist.
- “Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Conditioning Program – Orthoinfo – Aaos.” OrthoInfo, orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/recovery/rotator-cuff-and-shoulder-conditioning-program/. Accessed 16 Aug. 2023.
- “Shoulder Pain and Common Shoulder Problems – Orthoinfo – AAOS.” OrthoInfo, orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/shoulder-pain-and-common-shoulder-problems/. Accessed 16 Aug. 2023.
- “Shoulder Pain.” Pennmedicine.Org, www.pennmedicine.org/for-patients-and-visitors/patient-information/conditions-treated-a-to-z/shoulder-pain#:~:text=The%20most%20common%20cause%20of,rotator%20cuff%20tendinitis%20or%20bursitis. Accessed 16 Aug. 2023.
- “Top 10 Shoulder Stretches for Pain and Tightness.” Medical News Today, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324647#neck-stretches. Accessed 16 Aug. 2023.