There are a number of things you can do to curb your recent shoulder pain, like changing your sleep habits, exercise or wear supportive accessories. But your first priority when you have any kind of muscle pain is to do frequent stretching. You don’t need to buy any special equipment or go to the gym to help treat your shoulder pain with stretches. In fact, many every day objects you come across each day can help reduce shoulder pain. Here are some easy stretches you should be doing once every hour if you are experiencing chronic pain.
1. Arm Against Wall
Begin by extending your arm and fingers in front of you near a wall, just enough so that your finger tips touch the wall. Now slowly walk towards the wall and let your fingers move up the wall as you move closer. Eventually, this will raise your arm parallel with the wall (so that are arm pit is as close to the wall as possible). Now slowly walk back away from the wall. Do this for both arms.
2. Door Frame Stretch
People who work office jobs on a computer tend to have a very tight chest and pectoral muscles. This is caused by hunching and typical arm placement to type on a keyboard. It doesn’t seem like it, but your chest muscles affect your shoulder muscles. Putting tension on them creates stress on the shoulders. Since your chest muscles are clenched together in this scenario, that means your shoulders are being over-extended forward.
To help this, find a door frame. Put your palms against each edge of the door frame and put your elbows at a 90 degree angle. Plant your feet and slowly lean forward into the door frame, using the frame to support yourself. Lean forward until your arms are in-line with your body. You will definitely feel the warmth and relief in your chest, right where your pectoral muscles connect with your shoulder.
3. Door Handle Stretching
This will help shoulder blade pain, and can help prevent common pinched nerves in the area. You can use a door handle, or any stationary, solid object you can brace against and hold onto without it moving. However, it should be at your waist.
Stand in front of the object and grab it with both hands. Now walk backwards and bend towards the door handle so that your torso makes a 90 degree angle with your legs. Your arms should be completely stretched outwards towards the door handle. You will feel this in your shoulder blades and rotator cuff.
4. Stick Stretch
Typically this is done with a “stretching stick” which you probably have seen if you did a school sport or physical therapy. However, you can really do it with any sturdy, stick-like object in the house. Pick something that’s long enough to hold onto with your hands apart, but not so long that it’s too heavy or may knock something over. A short broomstick or a longer kitchen utensil can work. You can even use a taught piece of fabric.
Put the stick horizontally behind your back and grab on with both hands with some distance apart, probably around 8-10 inches. Slowly raise your arms so they are as perpendicular with your body as possible, then slowly bring them back down. You can then try bending over and raising your arms as high as you can behind your back.
Remember, if you are actively trying to reduce shoulder pain through stretching and lifestyle changes and you still experience the same pain after 3 months, contact Dr. Koo. Don’t assume that it will lead to shoulder surgery, as many conditions can be treated through non-operative methods. Dr. Koo has a network of physical therapists and other shoulder professionals to help treat your shoulder pain, weather it’s through therapy or medication.