3 Stretches to Prevent Shoulder Pain and Injury

Shoulder-Stretch-Blog

If you experience pain that gets in the way of everyday motions, physical therapy may help to repair damage and return normal movement. But to prevent shoulder pains and injuries, stretching and range-of-motion exercises are recommended to maintain strength and flexibility in your shoulders and upper arms.

Here are three simple stretches to help you maintain stability and strength in your shoulders. There is a video at the bottom of the post that shows how to do these stretches.

Shoulder mobility test/stretch:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and pointed straight ahead
  2. Try to interlock fingers behind your back. If you are unable to interlock your fingers behind your back, simply try using a towel (as shown in the video below)
  3. Hold for one minute on each side

While performing this stretch, be sure to keep your chin up, and feet straight. If you experience pain during the stretch, stop and don’t try to push through it.

This stretch promotes good range of rotation and will help increase overall shoulder flexibility. It is very common to see a difference in range of motion between your right and left arm.

RELATED: Common Shoulder Injuries From Overuse or Improper Lifting

Wall/Floor extensions:

  1. Stand with your back against a flat sturdy wall, heels touching the wall. If you are doing this stretch from the floor – on a yoga mat, for example - simply lay down with your knees bent at a comfortable angle
  2. Extend your arms straight out to the sides of your body, with your palms facing forward (the backs of your hands should be against the wall or floor)
  3. Bend your arms to move forearms into an upright position (your arms should be at a 90-degree angle)
  4. Raise your arms above your head, keeping them flat against the wall/floor

Good flexibility allows full extension of the arms so that your hands touch together above your head while keeping your arms, elbows, and wrists touching the wall/floor at all times.

Shoulder W:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and pointed straight ahead
  2. Hold a resistance band in front of your body, both palms facing up
  3. Place your elbows against your sides with your forearms directed in front of your body
  4. Rotate your shoulders outward by moving your hands apart, while keeping your elbows pressed against your sides

As you are doing this exercise, make sure to keep your elbows near your body and pull your shoulder blades together.

RELATED: Arm and Shoulder Exercises with Minimal Equipment

Reducing your risk of shoulder injury

The shoulder is a complex structure and keeping it strong and maintaining good range of motion will help the joint perform most efficiently, while reducing risk of injury. These stretches are simple enough to be beneficial to everyone, but if you experience pain or severe discomfort while performing them, you should contact your doctor.