7 Stretches to Relieve a Sore Shoulder Pain

Updated on April 9th, 2020
stretches for shoulder pain

Improper postures cause shoulder pains. Since most of the work these days requires hunching at the desk, it leads to severe shoulder pain. Eventually, most common complain these days by people is “stiff shoulders.”

Needless to say, if the posture is weak, it makes the upper body stiff and tense. Tightness around the neck and shoulders isn’t a condition that you should be worried about because the right stretching exercises can fix it. Stretches for shoulder pain is the best exercise for fast recovery.

These stretches for neck and shoulder pain help relieve the stiffness in the muscles. Strengthening exercises for the core and upper body is an excellent way to work on your posture and improves muscle flexibility. Let’s figure out more about how it works!

How Does Stretching Help in Shoulder Pain?

Stretching Help in Shoulder Pain
Image: ShutterStock

The most complex joint of our human body is our shoulder joint. It is the only joint that provides a lot of stability and mobility to our muscles, bones, tendons, making our shoulder to work together. Exercises for neck and shoulder help alleviate its symptoms away.

Proper exercising helps in reducing the muscle tension around the neck and shoulders by reducing the pain and stiffness around the sore areas. It also increases mobility, which helps in reducing injury to the neck and shoulders. Stretching helps in putting your body in the right posture. A lot of people experience chronic neck pain due to this incorrect posture.

Exercising for shoulder pain is a way out!

Types of Stretches for Shoulder Pain

 1. Right Posture

This is one of the best stretches for shoulder pain(1). The leading cause behind neck and shoulder stiffness is incorrect posture. Sit up straight for a few minutes. Then in a standing posture, slouch frontwards without overdoing the body bend. Then, slow backward. This position increases blood circulation and blood flow in the body.

2. Arm-Across-Chest Stretch Exercise

arm across chest stretch
Image: ShutterStock

Place your right hand across your chest. Try to reach the right elbow with the left hand. Hold the position for 40 seconds. Now repeat to the other side.

If you experience pain, pause for a while. Resume once at ease.

3. Neck Release

This stretch focuses on neck and shoulder pain. Sit up straight on a chair. Bend your head, with your chin touching the chest. Feel the stretch across your neck.  Turn your neck to the left, and then to the right. Hold it up to a minute and repeat four times.

[Read: Exercises for Shoulder Pain]

4. Shoulder Rolls

This exercise is an excellent stretch for shoulder blade pain. Stand straight, keeping your legs apart. Let your arms loose. Take a deep breath and rotate your shoulders in a clockwise direction. Repeat five times. Repeat the same in an anti-clockwise direction.

Move the shoulders back in such a way that your chest stretches. Repeat it ten times.

5. Stretch Your Neck

stretch your neck
Image: ShutterStock

Neck stretches are also a beneficial stretch for shoulder and neck pain(2). Sit up straight and then bend your ear to touch your right shoulder.

Use your thumb to hold your temple and stretch slightly more to let the ear touch the right shoulder. Repeat from the other side after holding the position for 40 seconds. These are the perfect stretches for shoulder blade pain.

6. Cow Face Pose

cow face pose
Image: ShutterStock

Put your right arm up and bend it behind your back with your elbow upwards and the palm facing downward behind your back.

Place your left hand behind your back with your left elbow facing downwards and the palm upwards behind your back, trying to touch the fingertips of the right hand.

Stay in this pose for about 1 minute. Release the arms, and repeat with the arms reversed for the same length of time

7. Wall Stretch

wall stretch
Image: ShutterStock

In a standing position, bend and place both your hands on the wall. Walk back until your arms are straight and adjacent to your body, and now bow down. Don’t scrunch your shoulders and keep your shoulder blades back.

Hold this for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.

[Read: Yoga for Shoulder Pain]

Do’s and Don’t’s

Stretches for shoulder pain comes with a set of instructions. Here’s a list of the do’s and don’t’s to consider when doing the stretches for neck and shoulder pain.


  • Maintain an exercise routine.
  • Keep a proper posture while sitting and doing other work.
  • Visit a doctor if the symptoms don’t reduce post the stretches.


  • Don’t self medicate when you experience shoulder pain.
  • Don’t overstrain your body with exercises and stretches.
  • Don’t do any stretches that haven’t been advised by your doctor or physiotherapist.
  • Don’t do stretches immediately after a bath or take a shower right after stretching and exercising.

Maintaining the right posture is extremely important to keep the muscles around the neck and shoulders flexible. Exercising can give you temporary relief but stretching every day and maintaining a correct posture while sitting at the desk, or using a laptop can prevent recurrence and keep you away from pain.

[ Read: How to Relieve Shoulder Pain Naturally ]


1. When Can We Start Exercising for Neck and Shoulder Pain?

Stretching can be done regularly as it can help prevent the neck and shoulder pain. You can also start once you experience stiffness and pain and continue to do them regularly.

2. Can Stretches for Shoulder Pain Cause Harm?

No. However, the effects of the stretches can vary from person to person. Depending on the severity of the stiffness and pain, your doctor will advise you stretches. If the instructions are followed accurately, these stretches could cause no harm or damage.

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