Remedies That Help With Pain

5 Easy Shoulder Pain Exercises

March 30th, 2018

Physical therapy also offers an alternative method of dealing with chronic pain, especially chronic pain that has spinal involvement. Many of the medications that are used today to treat chronic shoulder pain and upper back pain have a large array of side effects. Since there are no side effects to physical therapy and shoulder pain exercises for their chronic shoulder pain. There are also a wide variety of stretches for shoulder pain. With so much in safe, proven alternative therapy available, it may be something you want to consider talking to your physician about. It can also be a supplemental therapy to your medicine so that you don’t have to keep increasing dosage.

Shoulder pain exercise, woman exercising her shoulder

Medications for Shoulder Pain and Side Effects

One of the leading medication used to treat chronic nerve pain, Gabapentin, and its cousin Lyrica, often carry heavy warnings for mood-related side effects. Some of these symptoms include manic episodes, excessive worrying, acting without thinking, irritability, aggression, thoughts of suicide, and many other serious symptoms of depression.1 Recent studies also show that Gabapentin and Pregabalin also have an adverse effect on the development of new brain synapses.

Since opioid pain medications have terrible implications, especially addiction and drug abuse, physicians have sought other means of treating pain. However, these other medications are typically prescribed “off-label,” as Neurontin, the first brand of Gabapentin, was originally developed for epilepsy.2 It is now typically prescribed as a substitute for opioid pain medication. However, while they don’t carry the same risk of abuse, the side effects of these medication on your brain and body are probably comparable.

There are many clear red flags that tell us if we can have the option of taking a different route than medication, it is at least worth a try. Shoulder pain exercises along with stretches for shoulder pain will likely improve your posture and overall spinal health. Shoulder exercises improve the interscapular and deltoid muscles, both often responsible for slouching, which can cause a lot of pain. Shoulder pain exercises increases the strength of the muscles in your upper back and shoulders, which helps pull your spinal alignment back and discourage slouching. It can also repair scapular muscles that have been overstretched by slouching, another cause of chronic shoulder pain.

The best part is, these easy shoulder pain exercises can be done at home. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars and countless hours with a physical therapist to enjoy the benefits of exercise therapy. So much of what is done in physical therapy are simple pain exercises that can be done at home or in the office. These easy shoulder exercises will allow you to reap some of the benefits of physical therapy without having to set foot inside a gym. It also may give you an idea of if physical therapy with a licensed therapist is something that you want to look into an think you might benefit from.

Shoulder Pain Exercises: Resistance Band

You will need a resistance band for some of these exercises. You should start with a lower level of resistance and work your way up. When using a resistance band, it is easy to overdo it and injure yourself without realizing that you’re doing so, so be very careful. If it hurts, you’ve overdone it. A resistance band feels easier than it is, so be sure to stick to the numbers. Don’t go until you can’t do anymore. You’ll end up with a muscle sprain that will keep you from exercising for far longer than you want.

Shoulder Pain Exercise #1: Overhead Stretch

For the first exercise, take the band and raise it as high as you can reach over your head. Grab the band with a moderate amount of space between each hand. Pull on the band, and with your arms held straight, pull the band apart over your shoulders, until you feel your triceps and deltoids engage, then bring your hands back together. Repeat this 10 times. To begin, do 2-3 sets of 10. Then stop.

You may feel capable of doing more but you need to build up slowly. In addition to working your deltoid muscles, which can be a culprit if you are slouching, this shoulder exercise also works your triceps. This can help tighten up the fat or skin you may carry under your arm. So, if you have pain in your actual deltoid, this exercise will help by decreasing the strain on that muscle. Again, it also helps by strengthening the muscles that will help support your posture in your upper back and shoulders.

Shoulder Pain Exercise #2: Arms Out

The next one of these shoulder exercises doesn't involve the band. You’ll need it later, but for now set it aside. Stand upright with good posture and look straight ahead; good neck alignment is important during this exercise. Hold your arms straight out to your side's and at a 45 degree angle downward. Keeping the arm straight, raise it up to be a 90 degree angle, and completely parallel to the floor. Hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat this 5 times.

This exercise specifically works your deltoid, and uses gravity and your own body to create the resistance. Try to increase you hold time up to 20-30 seconds, but you don’t have to increase sets. If you want to do a variation on this exercise, just lift your arms as you would, and then lower them again without holding, and do this at a faster pace. Do 15 repetitions, hold the position for 5 seconds, and release. Start with 3-5 sets of these. For this, you can increase your repetitions to 20, but there is no reason to increase higher than that. For this variation, it is better to increase the number of sets you do, slowly, to about 8.

Shoulder Pain Exercise #3: Shoulder Squeeze

For the next shoulder exercise you need to remain standing in the very same upright position. We are going to now shift focus from deltoid exercises to strengthening your interscapular muscles. These muscles are very importing in aligning your spine and keep you from slouching, which can cause headaches, neck aches, back aches, and deep shoulder pain.

Point both your arms straight out in front of you. Keeping your arms straight, spread your arms out straight beside you. While doing this, squeeze your shoulders together. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Repeat 2-4 times to start.

This can be quite a tough one, and this is one of our shoulder pain exercises that offers some of the most opportunity for growth. The interscapular muscle is particularly susceptible to being weak and overstretched, and the more you do this exercise, the stronger this muscle will become. While this is true for almost all exercise, since it’s likely this muscle started out overextended, once it returns to normal, it will be able to do more. Then, even more growth can be expected to the healed muscled. You may end up being able to do 5-7 sets at 20 seconds before you need to stop. The interscapular muscle really needs to be emphasized during your workout routine. You can also do this exercise without holding the position. Just do 15 quick reps, hold and squeeze for five seconds, and release. Only do 2 sets to start with. You can dial it up to 20 reps, and slowly dial your sets up to 4. That’s as many as you need to do.

Shoulder Pain Exercise #4: Shoulder Squeeze with Resistance Band

This shoulder exercise is also for the interscapular muscle. It should not be done in the same day as the previous shoulder pain exercise. It is similar to the last exercise, but you will need to use the resistance band. Hold the band straight out in front of you and grab with both hands with a moderate amount of space between the hands. Pull back and squeeze your shoulder together for 5-7 seconds. Repeat the exercise 2-3 times.

Again, this exercise is tricky because it may feel like you can do more; don’t. You can very easily hurt yourself with a resistance band without realizing you’ve done it until the next day. However, there is room for growth. You can increase to 10 seconds, and you can slowly increase to doing the exercise 5-7 times. Don’t push yourself too hard and go slow. Increase your sets and times very slowly. You can also do the exercise with the same variation as the last one. Pull, squeeze, release. Don’t hold. You can do about 5-7 repetitions and about 3 sets to begin. You don’t need to increase your reps, but you can increase your sets slowly to as many as 7.

Shoulder Pain Exercise #5: Stretches For Shoulder Pain

Next, to help relieve shoulder joint pain you’ll need to do some shoulder and upper back stretches. These aren’t anything revolutionary or convoluted. Start with some simple shoulder rolls to help begin to relax the area, as well as stretching the head from side to side. These are both good warm-up stretches for the bigger stretches for shoulder pain.

For the best stretch for interscapular pain and after interscapular exercise, you need a door frame or something else very stable to grab onto. Grab inside of the door frame with both hands on either side, and then lean away, almost falling away, from the door frame. This stretches both your interscapular muscles and your middle back, as well as your triceps. After you have done this, lean over slowly and touch your toes. If you can go any further, do so. Let you head and hands completely dangle. Slowly rise, rolling upward from the hips up, as if stacking one vertebrae on top of the other. Once you have become totally upright, do a couple more shoulder rolls, and go on about your day with great posture.

By doing these shoulder pain exercises and stretches for shoulder pain, you will slowly build up the muscles that encourage good posture. Good posture, as well as having stronger muscles to support the spine and shoulders, will decrease your pain without the side effects of medication. People all over the world are choosing physical therapy to treat their pain. Try some our shoulder exercises and consult with your doctor about whether physical therapy is right for you.  

1 Gabapentin - Everyday Health
2 Neurontin and Lyrica are a Death Sentence for New Brain Synapses - International Coalition for drug Awareness