Top 11 Most Effective Physical Therapy Exercises For Shoulder Pain

If you have pain in shoulder or are suffering from frozen shoulder, you can try several simple yet very effective physical therapy exercises to relieve the condition right at your home. Most of these exercises are stretching exercises, which are considered safe. However, you are still advised to talk to your doctor or physiotherapist first before you try these exercises. Your doctor would be the best guy to tell you about the best therapy for your specific shoulder condition. But, in general, the following ten exercises work very effectively not just in relieving shoulder pain, but also in toning and strengthening your shoulder.

1. Towel Stretch

Take a towel which should be at least three feet long. Grab one end of the towel with one hand and then grab the other end from behind your back using your other hand, as shown in picture. Initially, keep it in horizontal position by keeping both your hands straight down toward the floor. Now, pull the arm on the side of the affected shoulder upward using the other hand. if both your shoulders are paining, do it alternatively with each hand. Repeat this procedure for at least ten to twenty times every day.

Towel Stretch

2. T-Shape Exercise

As shown in the picture, in this exercise, you have to position your body on one hand and your feet. Keep the palm on the floor while keeping the hand straight without any bent at the elbow. Now, raise the free hand up toward the ceiling in such a way that it should come straight in line with your shoulder and other hand. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds and then bring it down to your waist. Do 10 such repetitions.

3. Prone Horizontal Abduction

Lie down on your stomach with your face down on an exercise table or bench. If you have pain in one side of the shoulders, let your arm in that side hang freely down the bench. Hold a very lightweight dumbbell in that hand, or alternatively, you can simply keep your fists tightly closed while keeping the thumbs out. Now, keep the hand straight and bring it up sideways up to a height that matches your shoulder’s height. Stay in this position for 2-3 seconds and then bring your hand down very gently. Make sure you do not lift your hand higher than your shoulder’s position.

4. Lateral Raises

Hold two very light dumbbells in both your hands. Stand up straight while keeping your hands hanging loosely on your sides. If the pain is too much and you are not comfortable with dumbbells, you can simply keep your fists tightly closed while keeping the thumbs out. Now, start lifting both your hands simultaneously on the sides until they reach your shoulder level. Do not go above this level as it can worsen your shoulder pain. Stay in this position for 2-3 seconds and then gently lower your arms.

5. Hand Behind Neck

Stand up straight. Then, bring both your hands behind your neck and lock the fingers together. Make sure that your elbows should not be facing forward; they should be out to the sides. Now, lift one elbow up toward the ceiling in such a way that it should go a little above the shoulder level. Hold it there for one or two seconds and then repeat the same action with your other elbow.

6. Resistance Band Pull Back

You can do this physical therapy exercise for shoulder pain either in standing position or by kneeling down on your knee. In both cases, keep your back firmly straight. Now, holding a resistance band (which should be tied to an immovable object) in each hand, pull your hands backwards, in such a way that your elbows should go behind your body line and your shoulder blades should be squeezed together. Stay in this position for two to three seconds. Then, bring your hands forward gently in the initial position. Repeat this action for ten times.

7. Resistance Bank External Rotation

In this exercise, you have to stand while keeping your back straight and with the shoulder blades thrown back in such a way that your body position should be sideways parallel to the length of the resistance band as shown in picture. Tie the resistance band to an immovable object. Now, while keeping the hand closer to the resistance band hanging loosely and holding the resistance band with the other hand tightly, pull it backwards, away from your body, stretching the band to an extent where the elbow of this other hand should reach at a 90-degree angle in relation to your arm or body line. Hold it there for two seconds and then bring the hand slowly back in its initial position. Do it for ten times. Then repeat the same action by standing opposite with your other hand.

8. Resistance Band Internal Rotation

This exercise is very much similar to the above exercise except the fact that here you have to pull the band toward your body instead of pulling away from it. Do three sets of ten repetitions with each hand.

9. Shoulder Blade Squeeze

Shoulder blade squeeze is a very simple yet very effective therapy exercise for shoulder pain. You can do it anywhere, anytime, in both sitting and standing position. Whether you are standing or sitting, keep your chins tucked in and then bring both your hands behind your back in such a way that should squeeze your shoulder blades. Stay in this position for at least five seconds and then move back slowly in original position. When the shoulder blades are back to their natural position, repeat the same action. Do at least two sets of ten such repetitions. But, if the pain is too much, you should stick to just one set.

10. Shoulder Blade Shrug

Shoulder blade shrug is another simple yet very effective shoulder pain therapy, which you can do anywhere anytime. For better results, do this exercise in standing position. Stand straight while keeping your back and neck firm along with your body line. Now, lift both your shoulders up toward your head in a shrug expression. Stay in this position for at least five seconds before dropping back to the normal position. Repeat this action for ten times. Alternatively, you can also do this exercise one shoulder at a time.

11. Shoulder Blades Against A Wall

Stand tall facing a wall while keeping your neck and back straight. The distance between you and the wall should not be more than half the length of your arms. Now, bring your hands forward up to your shoulder level and put them against the wall. Now, push the wall in such a way that should squeeze your shoulder blades while allowing your arms to stretch. Keep the shoulder blades squeezed for 2-3 seconds and then release them slowly by bring your hands forward while bending at your elbow. Repeat it for ten times.

Overall, as you can see, most of the above exercises are very simple to do at home or even at work. But, it is still advisable to consult your doctor first to know how serious your shoulder condition is. This way, you would be in a better position to decide which of the above exercises can be best for your case.