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Stretches for Shoulder Pain

Your physical therapist will perform a clinical evaluation to determine both the source and the cause of your symptoms. Below is a list of stretches that might assist you in relieving your shoulder pain while you await your appointment. If a stretch causes you more pain, discontinue the stretch and ask your physical therapist for assistance.

Stretches for Shoulder Pain


Breakdown of Stretches for Shoulder Pain


1. Forward Mini Lunges with Overhead/Rotational Reaching

Grab a broomstick or foam roller. Starting with your feet together and the broom/foam roller at your waist. Take a step or mini lunge forward and reach up overhead with the broom/foam roller. Alternate to stepping with the other foot and reach overhead. After performing one set of reaching overhead, transition to stepping forward and rotating with the broom/foam roller. As you rotate, keep your eyes and head looking forward. Perform 2 sets of 5 repetitions each leg (both reaching overhead and rotating).


2. Foam Roller Pec Stretch

For this stretch, you will lay on the foam roller with it along your spine. Your butt should be near the end and your head laying flat on the foam roller. Keep your knees bent for support and lay your arm straight out to the side like a scarecrow. Your arms should be able to relax so your hands stay on the ground. You will feel a light stretch across the front of your shoulder and chest. You can stay in this stretch 1-3 minutes.


3. Foam Roller Back Extension

The goal of this stretch is to gain mobility in your middle and upper spine. The foam roller will be perpendicular to your spine and start with it just below your shoulder blades. Keep your butt on the ground and place your hands behind your head. Then, slowly arch over the foam roller and allow the spine to melt into the roller. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds. You can perform 5-10 reps on that spinal segment and then move further up or down the foam roller to perform 5-10 reps in a new position. Remember for this mobility technique the goal is to mobilize your spine in certain areas (mid to upper back) with your butt stationary on the ground (not slide up and down on the foam roller).


4. Banded Mobility Capsular Stretch

Please see the video explanation for these stretches! These are great stretches for the front of your shoulder (pec) and back of the shoulder (lat dorsi and posterior shoulder capsule), but if you have shoulder instability then this stretch may not be for you!


5. Child’s Pose Lat Stretch

For this stretch start on hands and knees.  While keeping your arms outstretched above your head, rock your butt back to your heels.  Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. You can then walk both hands off to the left side and you should feel a stretch through the right side of your back.  Then, shift hands off to the right side and hold again for 20-30 seconds. Perform 3 sets of 20-30 seconds in each position.


Stretches for Shoulder Pain Video

We know it helps for many people to have a visual, so here is a video displaying some effective stretches to help with shoulder pain. 


Find Physical Therapy for Should Pain

By incorporating these stretches into your daily regimen, you will start to develop the muscles that have been causing your pain. Also, here are additional exercises for shoulder pain that are effective in strengthening. Be sure to reach out to our team here at Impact Physical Therapy and schedule your evaluation today!

published on Friday, November 16th, 2018