Exercises for the Painful Shoulder

The shoulder is really several joints that combine with tendons and muscles to allow a wide range of motion to the arm-from scratching your back to swimming or pitching a baseball. Overusing this mobility, though, has its price. It may lead to increasing problems with muscles and tendons-and to pain. The pain may be temporary and disappear when you rest your muscles, or it may continue and require medical treatment.

Treatment generally involves rest, sometimes medications to relieve pain and inflammation, and, most important, physical therapy or exercises that will help you improve shoulder flexibility and strength.

Remember that when you go back to the sport or other activity that gives you shoulder problems, go back slowly. Warm up well with the following exercises. Gradually increase the number of times you repeat each exercise as your condition improves. Try to do these exercises 2-3 times each day.

Note: Some of these exercises call for you to use weights. The weights can be cans of food or dumbbells weighing 1-5 pounds. For some exercises, you might be able to use stretch tubing or cord available from sporting good stores. Remember to let pain be your guide. If using the muscle hurts, or if you are in pain hours after your exercises, STOP-you may be making the condition worse.

Range-of-motion exercises

Stretching and strenthening exercises

Shoulder exercises