4 easy at-home exercises to relieve shoulder pain

May 4, 2020 | Exercise Mechanics

Shoulder injuries can be frustrating and painful. Usually, shoulder pain will develop gradually and sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint the exact cause.

In this post, we’re sharing some easy at-home exercises to relieve shoulder pain and prevent it from happening again in the future.


What causes shoulder pain?

The movements involved in our everyday activities or work routines can lead to shoulder injuries and niggling pain. It might be things like working at a computer with an awkward posture or resting your wrists on the desk as you type.

If you’ve been getting into the DIY jobs during the lockdown, you might also have experienced some stiffness or stress from jobs like painting (where your arms are above shoulder level for long periods), vibrations from power tools, or repetitive lifting.

You might also experience shoulder pain from static loading, where your muscles hold your body in the same position for a long time. (So don’t overdo those planks in your workouts!)

If your shoulder pain doesn’t ease at all in two weeks, book an appointment with us. It could be caused by a more serious injury or condition. Here’s a breakdown of different types of pain and what injuries they could indicate:

  • Pain and stiffness that lingers for months or years could indicate something like Frozen Shoulder, or arthritis

  • If the pain is worse when you’re using your arm or shoulder it could indicate tendonitis, bursitis or an impingement

  • If your shoulder feels like it clicks or locks, or if you experience tingling or numbness and your shoulder is weak, it could indicate shoulder instability

  • If the pain is on top of the shoulder, where the collarbone and joint meet, it could be caused by problems in the acromioclavicular joint, like dislocation or stretched or torn ligaments

  • Sudden extreme pain where you can’t move your arm could be caused by dislocation, a broken bone, or ruptured tendon


How to relieve shoulder pain

Just like with lower back pain, we recommend you keep moving gently to relieve general shoulder pain. Avoid painful movements, but don’t stop use completely as this is likely to make the pain worse in the long run. We also recommend steering clear of the weights and strenuous workouts.

According to the NHS, it can take anywhere from four to six weeks to recover fully from mild shoulder pain. Book an appointment with us if the pain doesn’t ease in two weeks, but bear in mind it can sometimes take that long for exercises like these to relieve shoulder pain.


Wall walk exercise

Wall walks are helpful in finding relief from neck and shoulder pain. It teaches correct shoulder mechanics and movement by learning how to move the humerus and scapula independently.


Stand tall with a straight spine and core engaged. Set the shoulder blade back and down. Walk the hand up the wall, keeping the shoulder blade set. Don’t allow your shoulder to hunch as you perform the movement. Reverse the motion to return to start position. Relax and repeat.

We recommend two sets of 12 reps.

Glenohumeral joint mobilisations

This glenohumeral joint mobilisation exercise can help relieve shoulder pain. The movements are gentle and help in cases of rotator cuff or bicep tendinopathy, frozen shoulder and rounded shoulders, and other muscle strains and sprains.


Sit with good posture. Raise both arms out the side in a “T” formation. Turn one palm up to face the ceiling, whilst the other remains down towards the floor. Alternately rotate both arms to switch the position of the hands. Repeat.

We recommend one to two sets of 15 to 20 reps.

Pendulum swings

This pendulum swing exercise for shoulder movement is ideal for relief from tendinopathy, bicep and rotator cuff injuries, neurological pain, frozen shoulder and to reduce joint compression, dysfunction or inflammation.


Support yourself on your unaffected arm and lean slightly forward. Allow your affected arm to hang forward and down. Use momentum to circle the arm clockwise and anti-clockwise. You may wish to hold a light weight in the affected arm to give further traction/space to the glenohumeral joint.

We recommend one to two sets of 15 to 20 reps.

Rotator Cuff Isometric

This isometric exercise strengthens the rotator cuff muscles to help with pain relief from injury and conditions such as frozen shoulder and rounded shoulders.


Set the shoulder blade back and down and perform the following:

1. Stand with the affected side closest to the wall, palm turned in and arm straight. Push the back of the palm towards the wall. Hold for 6 seconds.

2. Stand with the affected side closest to the wall, palm turned in and elbow at 90 degrees. Pivoting at the elbow and rotate through the shoulder joint, push the back of the palm towards the wall. Hold for 6 seconds.

3. Turn to face the wall. Palm against the wall and elbow/ shoulder at 90 degrees. Push the palm into the wall, rotating inwards at the shoulder. Hold for 6 seconds.

4. Turn to face away from the wall. Position the elbow at 90 degrees. Push the back of the arm/elbow into the wall. Hold for 6 seconds.

We recommend repeating for six sets.

Remember, if pain persists contact us or book an appointment.

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