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Top 5 Exercises to Relieve Shoulder Pain and Tightness

May 14, 2021 3 min read

If you suffer from shoulder pain, know you’re not the only one. This joint problem is seen in numerous people and may involve the cartilage, ligaments, muscles, nerves, or tendons. 

Not all is lost though! There are at-home remedies and exercises you can do to help relieve your pain by soothing inflammation and strengthening muscles.

Easy At-Home Remedies to Relieve Pain

Anti-inflammatory Medication

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can lower inflammation and thus relieve pain. Some of these include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Reducing inflammation is key in rotator cuff injuries, tendonitis and arthritis, etc. 

Cold Compress

Using cold compresses can reduce swelling in your shoulder. Plus, cooling may numb pain as well. Try applying an ice pack for 20 minutes five times a day at the most. You can use a frozen gel pack, frozen peas, or ice cubes in a plastic bag. Never apply the cold pack directly to your skin. Make sure to wrap it in a towel. 


Using an elastic medical bandage, wrap your shoulder. This can help reduce both swelling and pain, whether it is a cold compression bandage or regular ACE bandage. Make sure you don’t wrap it too tight since you don’t want to impede blood flow. 

Heat Therapy 

Tense muscles usually relax with heat. You can try using a heated gel pack, heating pad, or a hot water bottle. 

Change Up Your Rest and Activity 

Pinpoint the activity that caused your shoulder pain. Be gentle with your shoulder to keep its muscles strong.

Exercise Ideas to Relieve Shoulder Pain

By exercising and stretching regularly, it’s possible to keep your shoulder flexible and strong. Try doing these simple exercises three to six times per week to lessen your shoulder pain. Begin with a 10-minute routine and increase the duration little by little as your muscles get stronger.

As you exercise, focus on relaxation. Release the tension in your shoulders and truly focus and breathe. Also, don’t forget to not push yourself. These should not be causing more pain than a bit of discomfort. 

What do you have to take into account before beginning? 

  • If more shoulder pain arises, stop any exercise.
  • Consult with your doctor before starting out.
  • Be careful with your form. Exercising the wrong way can make your shoulder issues worse.
  • Remember to warm up! Try light shoulder rolls or even a warm shower to warm up your muscles. 

Pendulum Stretch for Range of Motion

Stand and bend at the waist.
Hang your arm down on the side where you feel pain.
Maintain your neck relaxed.
Move your arm in a circle  20 times.

Overhead Shoulder Stretch

You can choose to sit or stand.
Intertwine your fingers in front of you.
Bend your elbows as you raise your arms above, on, or behind your head.
Softly squeeze your shoulder blades together to move your elbows back.
Repeat up to 20 times for 5 to 10 times a day. 

Wall Downdog 

Begin standing a few feet away from the wall.
Place your hands on the wall in line with your hips. Now walk your feet back so they are underneath your hips and your body is in an L-shape.
Press into your palms as you carefully lower your chest and stomach towards the floor until you feel a stretch through your chest and shoulders.
Hold for 30 seconds.

Double V

Face the wall. 
Cross your right arm over your left in front of you and place your fingertips on the wall.
Crawl your hands out to the sides as far as you can.
Work towards getting your elbows to touch the wall.
Line up your upper arms underneath your chest, lean into the wall, and feel the stretch.
Breathe and hold for 30 seconds.
Switch sides by crossing the left arm over the right.

Wall Prayer Stretch

Kneel facing the wall and put your palms together.
Rest your elbows at about shoulder height.
Hook at the hips and lower your chest towards the floor while looking down.
Hold for 30 seconds.

It’s time to take control of your pain. A healthy, comfortable life is waiting for you.

Let us know how these home remedies, exercises, and stretches helped you. Your lifestyle choices affect your pain level as well. Think about how much time you spend sitting down and working. If you’re not using an ergonomic chair, it’s time to make the change. Your body and mind will thank you!

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