Stretches for Shoulder Pain

By Ehren Allen, Certified Manual Therapist/Physical Therapist

How Can I Relieve Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain can have multiple causes. It is commonly from poor posture in the upper back and neck. Poor posture can cause the shoulder blades to round forward and change the position that the arm rests in the shoulder socket. This can lead to excessive wear and tear of the rotator cuff and the bursa in the shoulder.

Here are some stretches that can help improve posture and decrease the risk of shoulder pain.

Hold all of the stretches 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Cross Body Stretch

JOI Rehab - Cross Body Stretch.

Image of woman doing cross-body stretch.

Doorway Stretch

Stretches for Shoulder Pain at JOI.

Image of woman completing doorway stretch.

Overhead Lat Stretch

JOI Rehab - Overhead Lat Stretch.

Image of woman doing overhead lat-stretch.

Upper Trap Stretch

JOI Rehab - Upper Trap Stretch.

Image of woman completing upper trap stretch.

Chin Tuck Stretch

Stretches for Shoulder Pain.

Image of woman completing chin tuck stretch.

Why Does My Shoulder Hurt When I Wake Up?

Waking up with shoulder pain can be an indication that there is a problem in the shoulder joint. But, it may just mean that you need to change your sleeping position. Lying on the shoulder for a long period can place pressure on sensitive structures and lead to pain.

Here are some tips to try if you wake up with shoulder pain.

  • Try lying on the other side or on your back instead.
    • If this is difficult, try switching sides of the bed.
  • Change pillows.
    • When a pillow is too thick or thin, it can alter forces on the neck an shoulder with sleeping positions.
  • If you lay on the non-painful shoulder, try resting the painful arm forward on pillows to keep it in line with the body.

If you wake up with pain on in the left shoulder, and have increased sweating, jaw pain, chest pain, it may be necessary to seek medical attention.  Left shoulder and arm pain can be a sign of a cardiac event.

Problems in the neck can lead to shoulder pain as well.  The nerve that carry information to and from the shoulder come form the neck. Irritation around a nerve in the neck can cause pain to radiate to the shoulder and arm on either side.

How do you Relieve Tight Shoulder Muscles?

Sitting with good posture and stretching can help to relieve shoulder pain.

The Stretches for Shoulder Pain listed above are a good start. Strength exercises are also important to maintain good shoulder mobility and control. Most of the time, tight shoulder muscles include the muscles around the shoulder blades and in the chest and neck. Keeping those muscles strong and flexible can help to limit shoulder tightness.

If you have persistent shoulder tightness or pain, physical therapy can be a helpful option. A physical therapist will evaluate the health of the shoulder and the surrounding area to determine any movement issues.

The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute has the answers for your shoulder pain. From world class physical therapy to the some of the top orthopedic surgeons in the country. JOI has the experience to solve your shoulder issues. Come see us!


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JOI Fracture and Injury Care Services

By: Ehren Allen, Certified Manual Therapist/Physical Therapist

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