One very powerful way of controlling your shoulder pain is to do daily range of motion exercises, putting your shoulder through full movement several times a day. This prevents stiffness developing and stretches all the attached muscles, making them less vulnerable to sudden demands.
Please note that exercises can make your pain worse as well as better so please consult the simple exercise guidance before getting on with them. If you have any doubts, please consult your physio, other manual therapist or medical practitioner.
These exercises are meant to help you regain loss of movement in the shoulder region and control pain. They are simple and not magical in any way. However, with regular performance, you should find your problems are improved.If you have long term shoulder pain with some disability these exercises may help mobility but may not be very effective against pain.
Do each movement slowly five times, resting a short time in between each set of movements. Do two or three times a day although more often can be useful. You can increase the numbers over time as you get more confident.
Wand exercise: Flexion: Stand upright and hold a stick in both hands, palms down. Stretch your arms by lifting them over your head, keeping your elbows straight. Hold for 5 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Wand exercise: Extension: Stand upright and hold a stick in both hands behind your back. Move the stick away from your back. Hold the end position for 5 seconds. Relax and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Wand exercise: External rotation: Lie on your back and hold a stick in both hands, palms up. Your upper arms should be resting on the floor, your elbows at your sides and bent 90°. Using one arm, push your other arm out away from your body while keeping the elbow of the arm being pushed at your side. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Wand exercise: Internal rotation: Stand with one arm behind your head holding the end of a stick. Put your other arm behind your back at waist level and grab the stick. Move the stick up and down your back by bending your elbows. Hold the bent position for 5 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Wand exercise: Shoulder abduction and adduction: Stand upright and hold a stick with both hands, palms facing away from your body. Rest the stick against the front of your thighs. While keeping your elbows straight, use one arm to push your other arm out to the side and up as high as possible. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Scapular active range of motion: Stand and shrug your shoulders up and hold for 5 seconds. Then squeeze your shoulder blades back and together and hold 5 seconds. Next, pull your shoulder blades downward as if putting them in your back pocket. Relax. Repeat this sequence 10 times.
Pectoralis stretch: Stand in a doorway or corner with both arms on the wall slightly above your head. Slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your shoulders. Hold 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
Biceps stretch: Stand facing a wall (about 6 inches away from the wall). Raise your arm out to your side and place the thumb side of your hand against the wall (palm down). Keep your elbow straight. Rotate your body in the opposite direction of the raised arm until you feel a stretch in your biceps. Hold 15 seconds, repeat 3 times.