Physiotherapy For Shoulder Pain Articles
Top Exercises for Shoulder Pain Management and Prevention

Top Exercises for Shoulder Pain Management and Prevention

Our shoulders perform numerous tasks, such as reaching, lifting, holding, carrying, pressing, and pulling. With all these activities, it's no wonder that we may experience some degree of discomfort in our shoulders at times.

When shoulder pain becomes consistent, it can be a real hassle to everyday activities. This condition is common among office workers and people across various occupations and industries. A recent study in Singapore reports that 42% of workers with musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) experience the highest pain levels in the shoulders.

Luckily, most shoulder pain cases aren't attributed to serious underlying causes and typically subside within two weeks with the right treatment and exercises.


In this article, we'll explore some of the best exercises to manage and relieve shoulder pain, as well as tips, home remedies, prevention, and when to see a doctor.

Exercise Tips

Approach exercises with care especially when dealing with shoulder pain. To prevent the shoulder blades from stiffening, actively maintain a balance between rest and activity. Avoid movements that cause the most pain, particularly those that involve holding your upper arm away from your body or above shoulder height.

Shoulder pain worsens with poor posture. When sitting, ensure you don't lean in too forward with your arm held tightly by your side. Generally, it's a bad sign when you feel an ache coming from the neck due to a certain position.

Consider using ice packs and taking pain relievers before doing simple exercises to avoid extra pain. When performing strengthening exercises, protect your shoulder joint and be aware of your movements. Stay active but limit activity as needed.

If you experience pain persistently, it's best to consult shoulder pain physiotherapy for guidance on proper form and technique. For chronic shoulder pain resulting from more serious conditions like arthritis, it's best to prioritize treatment followed by professional exercise tips and advice.

Phoenix Rehab, a top provider of holistic shoulder pain physical therapy provides effective and non-invasive treatments, as well as post-treatment education for bone, muscle, and joint pain recovery. Their physiotherapy specialists provide a treatment plan and support you in understanding your condition, all while helping you get back to your regular activities.

15 Shoulder Pain Exercises

Our shoulders have the most mobile joint in the body, allowing a wide range of motion. Similarly, this body part is prone to overuse causing pain and discomfort.

To enhance flexibility and build strength in this vital area, consider the following exercises which include shoulder stretches and strengthening exercises.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Sit or stand with your shoulders relaxed. Lean forward slightly and squeeze your shoulder blades together, holding for a few seconds before releasing. This exercise helps strengthen your upper back muscles, which can relieve shoulder pain.

External Rotation

Hold a resistance band with your affected arm, elbow bent, and palm facing forward. Slowly rotate your arm outward, then slowly return to the starting position. This exercise strengthens your rotator cuff muscles, which are crucial for shoulder stability and mobility.

Child's Pose

Kneel on the floor with your hips facing forward and your knees slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lean forward, extending your arms in front of you, and hold the position for a few seconds before slowly returning to the starting position. This yoga pose stretches your upper body, including your shoulders and chest.

Arm Circles

Stand with your feet spaced apart at shoulder width and your arms extended outwards from your sides. Slowly make small circles with your arm, gradually increasing the size of the circles. Then, reverse the direction. This exercise improves your shoulder joint's range of motion.

Shoulder Stretch

Perform the shoulder stretch by standing and raising your shoulders. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Then, squeeze your shoulder blades together for another 5 seconds and pull them downward for 5 seconds. Repeat this sequence 10 times and don't forget to relax shoulder blades.

Yoga Poses

Incorporate other yoga poses, such as downward-facing dog, warrior II, and tree pose, into your routine. These poses can help improve your shoulder mobility and overall upper-body strength.

Resistance Band Exercises

Use resistance bands to perform exercises like rows, presses, and raises, which target your shoulder muscles and help improve strength and stability.

Shoulder Height

Stand with your arms at your sides and your palms facing forward. Raise your affected arm then slowly lower it. Repeat this exercise several times, gradually increasing the resistance if needed.

Stretching Exercises

Incorporate stretching exercises for your neck, chest, and upper back into your routine. These stretches can help alleviate tension and improve your posture, which can contribute to shoulder pain.

Pendulum Exercise

Simple exercises like a pendulum exercise can help relieve pain and discomfort in the affected shoulder. Stand with your left arm hanging freely while your right hand rests on a chair for support. Gently swing your left arm backward and forward, as well as in circular motions. Repeat about 5 times, aiming to perform this routine 2–3 times a day.

Door Lean and Press

Another simple exercise to consider is the door lean and press. Stand in a doorway with both arms positioned slightly above your head on the wall. Lean forward gradually until you sense a stretch in the front of your shoulders. Hold this position for 15–30 seconds, repeating the movement three times.

For the door press, stand in a doorway with your right shoulder on the opposite side. Bend your right arm at a right angle, pressing the back of your wrist against the door frame. Push your arm outward against the door frame for 5 seconds, completing 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Utilize your left arm, keeping the elbow bent at a right angle, and press your palm toward the door frame.

Shoulder Raises

To perform a shoulder raise, stand upright with your feet and shoulder apart. Hold a light weight in your right hand. Slowly raise your right arm straight out to the side until it reaches shoulder level, keeping your arm extended and your palm facing downwards. Hold for a moment at the top, then lower your arm back down.

Ear to Shoulder Blades

Sit or stand comfortably with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed. Slowly tilt your head to the right side, bringing your right ear towards your right shoulder without lifting your shoulder. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, feeling the gentle stretch along the left side of your neck and shoulder.

Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Perform this stretch 2-3 times on each side, aiming for a total of 3 sets.

Frozen Shoulder Exercises

If you have a frozen shoulder, consult a physical therapist for specific exercises to improve your range of motion and prevent further stiffness. However, if you are in the recovery stage, there are physical movements and stretches designed to help alleviate symptoms and improve mobility.

An example of this is the towel stretch. To perform this, start by holding a towel with both hands behind your back, with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Gently pull the towel upwards with your top hand while simultaneously pulling it downwards with your bottom hand. This action creates a gentle stretch across the front of your shoulder. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, allowing the muscles to elongate. Relax and repeat the stretch 2-3 times in each session.

Chest Stretch

It's important to be attentive to any discomfort in your shoulder during a chest stretch, promptly lowering your arm if you experience pain.

To perform the exercise, start by bringing your right arm across your chest and positioning it in the crease of your left elbow or utilizing your left hand to provide support. Hold this position for up to 1 minute, allowing the stretch to be effective.

Repeat the same movement on the opposite side to ensure balance. Aim to complete 3–5 repetitions on each side. To intensify the stretch, consider elevating your arm to shoulder height.

The exercises above are beneficial for enhancing shoulder flexibility and promoting overall joint health. Gradually increase the level of difficulty or intensity as you progress with these exercises. Remember to avoid collapsing or forcing movements, especially if you have experienced severe pain. Additionally, consider incorporating manual therapy sessions to address any underlying issues, such as poor posture, that may hinder your progress.

Home Remedies

In addition to exercises, you can also try home remedies to relieve shoulder pain. These include applying heat and ice therapies, practicing relaxation techniques, and using over-the-counter pain relievers as directed by your healthcare provider.


To prevent shoulder pain, focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This includes practicing good posture and avoiding slouching or hunching over while sitting, standing, and doing your daily activities. Engage in regular exercise to strengthen your muscles and improve your posture.

See a doctor

If your shoulder pain persists or worsens despite trying home remedies and exercises, it's essential to consult a healthcare provider. They may recommend further treatment options, such as physical therapy, medication, or even surgery in severe cases.


Shoulder pain can be managed and prevented with the right exercises, home remedies, and lifestyle changes. Simple exercises and stretches significantly help strengthen your shoulder muscles, improve your posture, and reduce pain. Remember to always consult a healthcare professional if your pain persists or worsens, and consider seeking the guidance of a physical therapist for personalized exercise recommendations.

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