How to Relieve Shoulder Pain

Millions of people worldwide, at some point in their lives, will ask themselves this medical question: Why do I have shoulder pain?

Unfortunately, shoulder pain can last for a long time if not treated. The good news is that you can make some simple changes in your everyday life that will help you find shoulder pain relief. Here are some behavioral and exercise modifications that can help alleviate your discomfort.

Common Reasons For Shoulder Pain

One of the most common causes of shoulder pain is a condition known as shoulder impingement. Rotator cuff tendons pressing on the coracoacromial arch of your shoulder can result in pain when performing reaching movements.

Besides impingement and a torn rotator cuff, other top causes of shoulder pain include pinched nerves in the shoulder or neck, bone spurs, broken shoulder or arm bone, arthritis, tendonitis, and bursitis. 

Some people have shoulder pain because of a problem known as adhesive capsulitis. This condition involves extreme immobility or stiffness in a shoulder joint. This is usually the result of an injury to the joint’s adhesions and inflammation of the capsule in the humerus.

Check and Improve Your Posture 

One of the leading causes of shoulder pain is poor posture. One way to understand how posture can change your shoulder’s available motion is to sit in a reclined position. Then raise your arm as high as you can. Check for any tightness or pinching. Next, sit in a chair using your best possible posture, repeat the exercise, and see if your motion improves.

Another way you can obtain better shoulder motion is by rolling your shoulders up and then back. Let your shoulders relax downward as you lightly tuck your chin down.

Make Ergonomic Changes For Correcting Shoulder Pain

If you have a poor workstation design, you can easily suffer from shoulder pain. This is because the positions that your shoulders are forced to be placed in are not ideal. For example, your computer mouse may be too far away. Another problem is a keyboard too far away, resulting in working in a slouched or slumped position.

Thus, ensure your computer screen and chair are correctly set up for shoulder pain relief. Furthermore, ensure your feet have good support, either from a footrest or on the floor, preventing you from having a slumped posture.

How you sleep can be an essential factor in avoiding shoulder pain. For example, consider changing your sleeping position, such as sleeping on your unaffected side or sleeping on your back. If this does not help, try some shoulder stretches to relax your muscles. Be sure to use pillows that support your neck and body.

A man gets his shoulder examined by a physician

Do Physical Therapy Exercises For Shoulder Pain 

Physical therapists recommend several practical shoulder pain exercises, including:

  • Pendulum or arm stretches: This exercise for shoulder pain involves moving the arm in big circles about 20 times. Have your feet shoulder-width apart and stand with your arms facing down at your sides. After doing them in a forward motion, reverse your arms, doing the exercise in a backward motion. Do these at least once each day to improve your range of motion.
  • Shoulder blade squeezes: This exercise is designed for improving your posture so that your shoulders can function correctly. It involves standing tall and straight. Pull your shoulder blades downward and then back in that position, bringing the elbows back and inward. Go back to your starting position, doing three sets of 10.
  • Shoulder rolls: Roll your shoulders up and then back. Let your shoulders relax as you lightly tuck your chin down and sit up on your hips again.
  • Plank exercise: This is a full-body exercise designed for back strengthening and strengthening your shoulders. Rather than doing them on the hands, do them on the elbows. While lying on your stomach, bend your elbows. After tightening the abdominal muscles and lifting the knees and hips off the floor, hold for about 30 seconds. Return to your starting position, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat the exercise. Do this five times every day.

Other Considerations and Warnings 

  • Set a timer for every 20 or 30 minutes and adjust your posture.
  • Do workplace exercises like stretching and focusing on the shoulders, neck, hands, lower back, and wrists.
  • Consider getting a standing desk for a seated job.
  • Stretch more frequently throughout the day.
  • Move more in general.

Cawley Physical Therapy Can Help Relieve Shoulder Pain

We can help teach you how to relieve shoulder pain through the tips listed above and take advantage of our other services. Schedule an appointment and prepare to live a healthier, more comfortable life.

Learn how to relieve shoulder pain by consulting the professionals at Cawley Physical Therapy. Contact us for a free posture assessment by emailing or calling 570-208-2787.