Best Stretches for Stiff Shoulders

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Shoulder painSitting can be terrible for your shoulders, whether you’re driving to work, using your computer, or watching TV. It might seem odd, since these things don’t seem to be straining your shoulders much—but modern life and posture means people are most often hunched over and even tensed up in these positions, which can lead to sore, stiff shoulders. A little stretching and shoulder exercises can go a long way to help you relax and ease that discomfort, so you can enjoy your activities pain-free when you stand up and go out.

Your neck and shoulders end up dealing with a lot of tension. Whether you hunch over your computer or you simply tense up when you’re stressed, the strain can leave you stiff and uncomfortable. Even sleeping wrong can leave you wincing in pain and struggling to complete daily tasks. Stretches help you relax the tension and relieve the pain.

Here are a few easy shoulder exercises you can do on your own:

  • Pendulum stretch – While standing, lean forward slightly and allow your arm to hang down loosely. Slowly swing that arm in a small circle ten times. Then reverse the direction of the circle.
  • Neck rolls – Tilt your head to one side toward your shoulder. Slowly rotate it forward so your chin rests on your chest. Continue to roll your head to the other shoulder, then roll it back and to the side again so it completes a circle. Repeat this multiple times.
  • Shoulder rolls – Roll your shoulders forward in ten big circles. Then slowly reverse the motion for ten more rotations.
  • Front-cross stretches – Keeping your elbow locked, reach your arm straight across your chest. Using your other arm, pull it closer to your chest to stretch your shoulder.
  • Arm circles – Keeping your elbows straight, gently swing your arms in big, slow circles—ten times forward and ten in reverse.
Stiff shoulders shouldn’t be the norm in your life. Stretches can make a big difference, but if stiffness and soreness persists, physical therapy can address the root of the problem. Let our physical therapists at Castle Pines Physical Therapy and Cherry Creek Physical Therapy take care of your shoulders. Make an appointment through our website or by calling our Colorado offices at (303) 805-5156.
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