4 Exercises to Treat Shoulder Pain

Exercises to treat shoulder pain can help reduce your discomfort. However, if the pain persists, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor.
4 Exercises to Treat Shoulder Pain

Last update: 22 February, 2021

It’s important to treat shoulder pain due to its anatomy and everything that discomfort in this area can lead to. A localized pain in this upper body part can be a sign of serious problems or injuries. For that reason, it shouldn’t be ignored.

The most mobile joint in the entire body, known as the glenohumeral, is located in the shoulders. This joint allows flexion, extension, rotation, and abduction movements. However, this broad range of motion also increases the likelihood of injury.

Below, we’ll teach you a series of exercises that can help treat shoulder pain.

Exercises to treat shoulder pain

The main benefits of exercise are muscle strengthening, increased blood circulation, and a reduced risk of injury due to disuse. In this vein, it’s a good idea to do a series of exercises to treat shoulder pain.

You need to remember that these exercises must be therapeutic or of low joint and muscular impact. This way, you’ll be able to treat the pain and make sure it doesn’t worsen or lead to complications.

Shoulder raise

A woman lifting dumbbells.
This exercise is a good option to treat shoulder pain.

You should do the first exercise to treat shoulder pain from the scapula or shoulder blade, a bone located at the back of the shoulder. Only do it with the affected shoulder. Follow these steps:

  • Begin by standing with your legs shoulder-width apart. Support the hand of the arm that won’t perform the movement on the other pectoral. For example, place your right hand on your left pectoral.
  • Raise your shoulder as high as you can. Try to start the movement from the scapula and do it slowly. Then, return to the starting position and raise it again. Do 10 to 12 repetitions of the exercise.

Back and forward

The starting position for this exercise is the same as the previous one. In addition, you can do it with both shoulders or only with the affected one. In both cases, it’s important to make sure not to hunch your back.

  • Beginning from the starting position we described in the shoulder lift, begin to move your shoulder forward slowly and as far as you can.
  • Then, return to the starting position and bring it back the same way.
  • Do 10 or 12 repetitions. Make sure you don’t do them abruptly or fast. Remember that the goal is to relieve your pain.

Arm circles

A man doing arm circles.
To treat shoulder pain, you can do gentle, low-impact exercises.

To treat shoulder pain, you must irradiate the muscles in this area to stimulate blood circulation in the area and improve mobility. On the other hand, even if the pain is localized in the deltoids, the entire surrounding area influences the shoulder’s joint movement.

  • While standing or sitting, place the palm of your hand on a surface (like a wall) while your arm is open to the side.
  • Place the opposite hand under the upper ribs of the open arm, about two inches under your underarm.
  • Begin to move your hand in circles to stimulate the lower armpit area and the muscles of this area of the body. Do this for 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise for at least five times. If you feel more pain, you can reduce the intensity of the movement and do it a lot slower.

Hug yourself

A man hugging himself.
Hugging yourself can be a good way to get your shoulders moving.

This stretching exercise is good for treating shoulder pain, as it stimulates the muscle groups of the area. Do it the following way:

  • Stand up with your legs shoulder-width apart and bring your arms out in front of you.
  • Then, cross them until you touch the back of the opposite shoulders. It’s as if you’re hugging yourself.
  • Try to do the exercise slowly and stretch your back and shoulder muscles properly.

What to do to treat shoulder pain

Exercises can help reduce pain and even make it go away. However, you should consider getting checked by a doctor. If you have persistent shoulder pain, see your GP or a specialist.

Always keep in mind that you need to rule out any type of major joint injury, which can only be achieved through a medical check-up and tests.

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All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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The contents of this publication are written for informational purposes. At no time do they facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.