Shoulders are the most used and mobile parts of our body. Four different joints, along with ligaments, tendons and muscles together form the shoulder. They also comprise muscles connecting the neck and the back.
Knowing the complex anatomy of the shoulder is very necessary for diagnosing and treating shoulder ailments. There are many causes of shoulder pain like Rotator cuff injuries and tears, Tendon inflammation, Fibromyalgia, frozen shoulder syndrome, neck pain or Lupus.
Proper care and precautions should be followed when doing Yoga for treating shoulder pain. If the reason for shoulder pain is a dislocation, a fracture or ligament & tendon damage, yoga can worsen the pain. Sometimes, shoulder pain can be a symptom of a heart attack, which would resolve on itself when proper care is taken.
Once you know the cause of your shoulder pain, your doctor can give you a clear idea on what kind of yoga is suitable for you. Yoga can phenomenally help you through the healing process. Below are the reasons, why you can imbibe yoga as a part of your treatment in healing shoulder pain.
According to research done in America, 9% of Americans face shoulder pain problem at some point in their life. Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that one out of every ten U.S people suffers from shoulder pain.
The most leading causes of shoulder pain(1) are injury and aging. Young people playing sports such as rugby, baseball, hockey, tennis, etc. are at risk of injuring the shoulder leading to pain. Excessive use of shoulders leads to degeneration of its tissues causing pain.
Why Should you Practice Yoga for Shoulder Pain Relief?
Regular practice of yoga for shoulder injury is one of the most beneficial ways to fight against chronic pain(2) and infuse the body with more strength and flexibility. Some of the benefits of yoga for shoulder pain include the following.
Cure of inflammation
The points of inflammation in the body mark the areas affected by inflammation. People who practice yoga daily have very less number of inflammation points on the body.
Yoga is exceedingly beneficial for the natural treatment of chronic pain and inflammation.
[Read: KT Tape for Shoulder Pain]
Improvement of body balance and flexibility
Extensive research reveals that yoga for neck and shoulder pain is incredibly beneficial for the natural development of body balance and flexibility. Regular yoga helps to make the body stronger and more flexible.
Development of strength
Practicing yoga daily helps in the development of mobility and physical strength. Besides, it is also helpful for the natural enhancement of endurance, flexibility, and other positive physiological factors that contribute to a healthy body.
11 Yoga poses for shoulder pain
1. Seated Cow Pose and Seated Cat Pose
- Sit with your legs crossed and open and stretch your shoulders while seated.
- Inhale deeply while wrapping the arms behind you. Intertwine the fingers and arch your back slightly. Gaze forward and lift the arms behind you into the pose of the Seated Cow.
- Draw in the shoulder blades and keep them down and away from the ears.
- Exhale deeply while slowly bringing the arms to the front
- Draw your belly in and bend your chin towards the chest into the pose of the Seated Cat.
- Repeat about five rounds of the poses while breathing in and out deeply.
2. Variation of the Seated Eagle Arms Pose
- Place the right elbow beneath the left elbow and try to bring the palms together.
- Breathe in deeply while lifting the elbows and breathe out gently while gently drawing the forearms and hands away from the face.
- Keep your legs crossed and keep aligning your shoulders away from the ear in a relaxing position.
- You can either maintain this position or fold forward in the direction of inhalation
- Lift the torso slowly and switch elbows to repeat the same steps
3. Threading the Needle Pose
- Get on your knees and hands, and place your left hand on the center of the mat beneath your chest
- Breathe in while you stretch out the right hand up to one side, breathe out as you string the right hand right underneath the left arm.
- Lower the external part of the right shoulder along with the right ear on the yoga mat. Hold your hips high while doing so.
- You can either keep your left hand on the tangle before your face or fix your left arm and stretch it up overhead with the palm on the tangle (the two varieties appear as follows). Hold and relax for 5 long full breaths. Switch sides.
[Read: Meditation for Pain Relief]
4. The Chest Opener Pose
- Bend your torso onto the belly, and stretch the left arm into a T-shape at around 90-degrees with the palm facing downwards.
- Place the right hand on the mat and bend over to the left side. Press the front part of the left shoulder against the mat in a way that your left ear is on the mat.
- Another pose of this yoga consists of bending the right knee and placing the foot on the mat behind the left leg to roll a little more onto the left.
- Maintain the pose for the span of five long and deep breaths, release the position and roll onto the belly. Switch the sides and repeat for about four or five rounds.
5. Downward Facing Dog Pose
- Get back on your knees and hands and tuck your toes beneath them.
- Lift your hips high and fold downwards until the body take the pose of a V-shape.
- Position your arms wider than the span of the shoulders and spread the feet to a width about the width of the hips. Spread all your fingers and apply a little more pressure on the forefinger and thumb of both the hands.
- Lift your kneecaps while pressing the heels against the mat. Draw your belly towards the spinal cord and create a little space in the upper back region with the rotation of the triceps.
- Hold this position for about five long and deep breaths.
[Read: Treat Sciatica with Yoga Poses]
6. The Dolphin Pose
- This pose begins from the Downward Facing Dog pose. Hold the forearms parallel to each other and lower onto them with the palms facing downwards.
- Place the palms and forearms on the mat and move the shoulders away from your ears. Move the feet slightly closer to your elbows. Draw your sit bones up high and pull your thighs towards your chest.
- Maintain the pose for about five long and deep breaths
7. The Cobra Pose
- Lower your body into the belly and position the arms beneath the shoulders on the yoga mat.
- Lift your torso, roll the shoulders away from your ears and draw the shoulder blades open and together across your chest.
- Maintain the pose for about five long and deep breaths. Relax your lower back and lower the torso on to the belly.
- Release the lower back with the Child Pose.
8. The Forward Fold and Wide-legged Pose
- Stand straight and then step your left foot back by about 3 feet. Turn the feet in slightly and press against the mat to straighten the legs out.
- Wrap your arms behind you and intertwine the fingers and breathe in while you lean forward. Lengthen the spinal cord and exhale while folding forward from the crease of the hip.
- Bend your head down towards the yoga mat and stretch out your hands overhead.
- Maintain the straightened pose of the legs and hold the position for about five long and deep breaths.
[Read: Treat Osteoporosis with Yoga]
9. The Locust Pose
- Lie down on the belly and wrap the arms behind you with your fingers intertwined.
- Lift your chest, shoulders, and head up and off the mat while breathing in deeply.
- Draw your arms backward while opening your chest and shoulders.
- Keep on drawing the arms towards your feet. You may either maintain this pose or lift your legs for an advanced variation of this pose.
- Hold the pose for about five long and deep breaths.
10. The Bridge Pose
- Lie on the back, fold your knees, and position your feet on the yoga mat about a hip-width apart. Position your feet in such a way that you can touch the heels with your fingers.
- Lift your hips high while you press the shoulders. Make sure that your feet are firmly planted on the mat. Gaze straight at the ceiling while holding the pose.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades and draw in the chin away from the chest.
- Hold the position for about five long and deep breaths.
11. The Child Pose
- Roll your body over onto the knees and hands and then position the knees at each side of the mat while keeping the big toes of the two legs together.
- Lower your hips onto the heels and put your forehead on the yoga mat for the Child Pose.
- Stretch your shoulders out a little more and bend your elbows. Position the elbows on the mat and place the palms above the head.
- Press your shoulders towards the yoga mat and do a deep shoulder stretching. Hold the position for about five long and deep breaths.
Precautions to Keep in Mind
To savor the benefits of Yoga for frozen shoulder and pain, you should keep the following points in mind.
- Warming up with free hand exercise before the yoga session is of utmost importance
- Align the shoulders properly before you practice any posture which involves pressure upon the shoulders
- Follow the gentle and restorative yoga asanas for the alleviation of shoulder pain. Do not apply too much pressure on the joints. Such pressure can aggravate the pain and result in chronic injuries
- Hold the torso firm and steady during the yoga for neck and shoulder pain by broadening the shoulder blades
We rarely think twice before popping into the doctor’s chamber and then bombarding our body with painkillers and harsh chemicals. But did you know that yoga for shoulder pain is not only more effective for the natural alleviation of pain in the shoulder joints and shoulder blades but is utterly and devoid of harmful side effects?
Yoga is incredibly useful for physical and mental health as well. It is a holistic approach that rejuvenates the body and heals the pain by working at the root of it. Embrace the goodness of yoga for shoulder pain and lead a healthy life.