Take a deep breath and concentrate on your shoulders, noticing how they feel. Chances are you will feel some tension, pain or sensation in this area.
Shoulder pain or tightness is common among adults. However, you can take steps to relieve the pain in your shoulders.
These exercises will improve flexibility and increase your range of motion, giving you greater comfort and improved movements.
Begin with these simple exercises 3 to 6 times per week to relieve your shoulder pain. Start with a 10-minute plan and gradually increase the duration as you get more robust and more flexible.
When you are doing these exercises, focus on relaxing and getting rid of any tension in your shoulders or any other part where you feel tightness.
Stretch only to the degree where it does not give you discomfort. Don’t push yourself too hard, and do not continue the exercise if you feel the pain that goes crosses mild discomfort.
1. Across chest stretch
Across chest stretch can help you increase flexibility and range of motion in your muscles and shoulder joints, making them more relaxed. However, if you feel pain in your shoulder while doing this exercise, you can lower your arm.
- Move your right arm across your chest.
- Use your left hand to support your right arm.
- Keep this position for 1 minute.
- Do the same on the opposite side.
- Do it 3–5 times on each side.
To stretch, even more, raise your arm to shoulder height.
2. Chest expansion
Chest expansion also increases range of motion and flexibility in your shoulders.
- Stand- up, hold a strap, an exercise band or towel behind your back with both your hands.
- Broaden across your chest as you move your shoulder blades toward each other.
- Lift-up your chin and look up at the ceiling.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Do it 3–5 times.
To deepen your stretch, keep your hands close together on the strap or towel.
3. Seated twist
Seated twist helps your shoulders and neck in stretching. Keep your hips positioned forward while doing this exercise. Allow the twist to begin in your lower back.
- While sitting in a chair, keep your ankles right under your knees.
- Twist upper body to the right while bringing the back of your left hand to your thigh.
- Keep your right hand wherever you feel comfortable.
- Stay in this position for 30 seconds.
- Do the same on your left side.
- Repeat each side 3–5 times.
4. Downward Dog Pose
Downward dog pose is an inversion pose which stretches and strengths the muscles in your back and shoulders.
- Begin with your hands and knees. Use your hands to press and lift your hips towards the ceiling.
- Keep your knees slightly bent as you press your weight into your hands and feet evenly.
- Keep your spine straight and bring your head toward your feet so your shoulders would flex overhead.
- Keep this position for 1 minute.
5. Child’s Pose
- Bring your big toes together and keep your knees slightly wide than your hips.
- Place your hips onto your heels while extending your arms in the front.
- Allow your chest to fall heavy on the floor, relax your shoulders and spine.
- Keep this pose for 5 minutes.
Home Remedies for Shoulder Pain
Along with the shoulder exercises, you can also try home remedies to relieve pain and encourage healing. Use the RICE technique - resting, icing, and compressing shoulder.
When possible, raise your shoulder above the heart level. Along with that, you can also take an Epsom salt bath or use a heating pad.
You can also take over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Try natural pain-relieving remedies like willow bark, turmeric or cloves. Apply an arnica cream, menthol rub or an essential oil blend to the painful area a few times in a day.
Opting for an acupuncture treatment and regular massage can also help relieve pain and bring balance to your body. Some manipulative therapies such as osteopathy, chiropractic adjustments, or Rolfing can bring relief as well.
How to Prevent Shoulder Pain?
You can prevent shoulder pain by following these simple tips:
- Practice good posture and do not slouch or hunch over while sitting, standing, and doing any daily activities.
- Pay attention to how walking, sitting, and standing throughout the day and make changes as necessary.
- Rest a lot and take a break from any activity that increases your pain.
Remember to take care when doing activities like reaching for something overhead, bending forward or carrying something heavy. If you have to do such activities as a job, think about how you can minimize discomfort.
If you play sports that cause you shoulder pain, ensure you are using proper technique and form.
When can you see a Doctor?
See a doctor or physiotherapist if you cannot move your shoulders or if your pain has become worse and does not get better after 2 weeks of treatment. To determine what is causing the pain and create a treatment plan, your doctor may do an ultrasound, X-ray scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
You should consult a doctor immediately:
- If you have serious pain in both shoulders
- If you have severe pain in both thighs
- If you have a fever
These could be the symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatic, a condition that requires immediate treatment.
Continuing doing exercises and follow your treatment plan even after you get better; it will help prevent the pain from coming back.
Remember, consult your doctor before starting any exercise routine, especially if you have any medical conditions that could be affected.