7 Exercises To Help Ease Shoulder Pain
In the UK 20.3 million people have a musculoskeletal condition such as arthritis or joint pain. Living with joint pain can have a big impact on not just a person’s physical health but also their mental health.
A key way of managing joint pain and arthritis is through exercise. This doesn’t have to be rigorous exercise in a gym or running but can often be a case of simple stretches and exercises that can be done from home to keep painful joints moving.
By moving a painful joint you encourage the essential synovial fluid within the joint to keep moving and bring in essential nutrients. Furthermore, by moving painful joints you increase the strength in the muscles around them, allowing the joint to be better supported.
If you are living with osteoarthritis or joint pain in the shoulder, there are multiple accessible exercises you can do to strengthen the different muscles in the shoulder and arm to help support and stabilise your shoulder joints. We’ve rounded up 7 effective and easy shoulder exercises which you can do in the comfort of your own home.
As with all exercises, listen to your body and only do what you feel comfortable doing. A little bearable pain when you begin is okay but if it starts to hurt more, stop immediately. If you are unsure please consult your GP or a trained healthcare professional.
1. The Pendulum
The purpose of this exercise is to get your outer shoulder and rotator cuff moving.
- Find a solid level surface like a table or kitchen counter and lean forward onto it with one arm for support.
- Make sure you are leaning forward with your other arm hanging directly below you.
- Swing your arm gently back and forward 10-15 times.
- Swing your arm gently side to side 10-15 times.
- Swing your arm in a circular motion 10-15 times.
- Then repeat with the other arm.
2. Crossover Arm-Stretch
This can stretch the back of your shoulder and encourage the muscles to better support the shoulder.
- Stand straight and relax your shoulders.
- Put one arm straight out in front of you and then, keeping it straight, move it across your chest so it is pointing at the opposite shoulder.
- With your other arm encourage the stretch across your chest and hold for 20-30 seconds.
- Do not push it further than feels comfortable. With time the muscles will begin to strengthen and stretch and you will find you are able to get it closer to your chest.
- Repeat this 3-4 more times and then switch to do it with the other arm.
3. Wall Crawl
This can increase the range of motion in your shoulder and help strengthen your shoulder muscles.
- Stand in front of a wall at an arm’s length away so all the tips of your fingers can just touch it.
Relax your shoulder and slowly walk your fingers up the wall as high as you feel comfortable.
Once at the top, hold for 10-15 seconds and then slowly walk your fingers back down again.
- Repeat this on the same arm 2-3 times seeing if you can go a little higher each time.
Repeat this with the other arm.
4. Wall Push Up
This can strengthen the muscles in your shoulder as well as chest and arm muscles.
- Face a sturdy wall and take one step back.
- Put your arms out straight and palms flat against the wall.
- Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and engage your stomach muscles.
- Keeping your feet flat on the ground - don’t be tempted to tip forward on the balls of your feet - gently bend your elbows and let your weight slowly bring you closer to the wall.
- Keep your hands flat on the wall and slowly push back up so your arms are straight again.
- Repeat this 8-10 times.
5. Internal Shoulder Rotation
This will help stretch the front of the shoulder.
- Find a lightweight stick, a broom, walking stick or similar.
- Keep your back straight and hold the stick behind your back palms facing away from you.
- Pull the stick away from your side until you feel a slight stretch in the front of your shoulder.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and then return to the starting position.
- Do this 3-4 times before switching to the other shoulder and doing the same again.
6. External Shoulder Rotation
This helps stretch the front of your shoulder.
- Using the same stick as above, stand with your back against a wall.
- Place one palm on the bottom of the stick, while the other hand grasps the stick just a little more than a shoulder-width apart from your body.
- Keep your elbow against the side of your body and gently push the stick with your other hand so you feel a stretch at the back of your shoulder.
- Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then relax, return to the start position.
- Do this 2-4 times before switching to the other shoulder and do the same again.
7. Shoulder Blade Rotation
This will help promote range of motion in your shoulders.
- Stand with your back straight, with your hands and arms at your side.
- Gently raise your shoulders towards your ears and hold for 5 seconds.
- Gently roll the shoulders forward and hold for 5 seconds.
- Gently drop your shoulders, you should feel a stretch across the top of your shoulders going up into your neck. Hold for 5 seconds.
- Gently roll your shoulders back, you should feel a stretch across your chest, and hold for 5 seconds.
- Repeat this 10 times.