Physiotherapy Exercises for Shoulder Pain

Physiotherapy Exercises for Shoulder Pain 

Shoulder pain, stiffness, and discomfort are common amongst many Canadians. With it, individuals can experience restrictions in their range of motion that can keep them from performing their daily routines.

Fortunately, engaging in physiotherapy treatments with a licensed and experienced medical physiotherapist in addition to performing at-home exercises for shoulder pain can significantly help individuals improve their range of motion, increase their strength, and reduce pain. 

At True Life Wellness and Physiotherapy, our physiotherapist team consists of qualified medical professionals who have years of experience working with patients experiencing shoulder pain. Upon booking an initial assessment with us, one of our physiotherapists will evaluate your current condition before providing you with a customized treatment plan. Using a variety of exercises, stretches, and manual, hands-on treatment methods, the physiotherapists at True Life Wellness and Physiotherapy will help you heal and improve your overall physical health and well-being.

Call us directly to book an initial physiotherapy appointment with one of our leading physiotherapists today.

What are the physiotherapy exercises for shoulder pain?

If you are currently experiencing shoulder pain and have yet to seek the guidance of a professional physiotherapist, we recommend booking an initial assessment with a therapist. They will be able to diagnose your injury and provide you with a customized treatment plan based on your needs and expectations.

In the meantime, there are several physiotherapy exercises for the shoulder pain that you can perform at home. Here is a closer look at some of these exercises.

  1. Arm crossover stretch

This stretch will help target the back of your shoulder blade.

  1. Stand upright in a relaxed position.
  2. Gently pull one arm across your chest.
  3. Use your other arm to support your upper arm area as you pull across.
  4. Hold this stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Relax your arms before repeating on the other side.

Avoid forcefully pulling your arm. You should also avoid putting pressure on the elbow of the arm you are pulling across your chest.

  1. Pendulum stretch

This stretch will target your subscapularis, deltoids, infraspinatus, and supraspinatus muscles in your back and shoulder area. 

  1. Place your hand on a table for support before leaning forward
  2. Drop your other arm and allow it to hang freely at your side.
  3. Swing your arm back and forth as gently as possible.
  4. Swing your arm in a circular motion as gently as possible.
  5. Relax before repeating on the other side.

Keep your back as straight as possible and avoid locking your needs as you are bent over.

  1. Scapula Setting

This stretch will target your upper back and shoulder blades.

  1. Lie face down on your stomach with both of your arms at your sides.
  2. Place a pillow under your chin area for comfort to avoid straining your neck.
  3. Draw your shoulder blades together by pushing inwards and downwards gently.
  4. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds before relaxing.
  5. Repeat this stretch 5 to 10 times.

Avoid putting pressure and tension on your neck area when performing this exercise. 

  1. Seated Twist

This exercise is meant to stretch out your neck area and shoulders. 

  1. Sit upright on a chair while keeping your ankles directly under your knees at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Slowly and gently twist your upper body to the left.
  3. At the same time, bring your right hand and place it on your thigh.
  4. Hold this stretched position for 30 seconds.
  5. Relax your body by bringing it back to a neutral position facing forward.
  6. Repeat this stretch on the other side.
  7. Aim to do this exercise at least 5 times.

Avoid straining your back by placing your hand in a comfortable position on your thigh as you twist. 

  1. Doorway shoulder stretch

This exercise will help you strengthen your shoulders while opening up your chest area.

  1. Stand in an open doorway.
  2. Create a 90-degree angle with your elbow and arm pressed against the doorway.
  3. Use your right foot to step forward as you press your palm into the doorway and lead forward.
  4. As you lean forward, make sure that you are engaging your core.
  5. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
  6. Release your arm from the doorway and relax before switching arms.
  7. Repeat this exercise 3 times on each side.

Avoid overstretching by only leaning forward as far as it is comfortable while still feeling the stretch in your chest and shoulder area.

  1. External rotation

This exercise will target your upper back and shoulder muscles. You will need a stretch/resistance band to perform this exercise.

  1. Tie your resistance band in a loop.
  2. Attach the loop through a door handle to stabilize the band.
  3. Stand to the side of your doorway and hold the resistance band at your side while keeping your elbow bent.
  4. Slowly and gently rotate your arm outwards while keeping your elbow glued to your side.
  5. Slowly return your arm to the starting position.
  6. Repeat the same outwards motion for 5 to 10 repetitions before relaxing and switching arms.

You are also able to do this exercise using equipment found in your gym. However, to avoid injury, it is essential that you keep the weight as light as possible in the beginning. Once you gain strength in your shoulder, you can then increase the weight as your mobility improves over time. 

  1. Standing row

This exercise is meant to target your upper back area and the back of your shoulder blades. 

  1. Tie your resistance band in a loop.
  2. Attach the loop through a door handle to stabilize the band.
  3. Stand in front of your closed door with the resistance band in your hand.
  4. Keep your elbow bent and at your side.
  5. Slowly and gently pull your elbow straight back while keeping your elbow as tight as possible on your side.
  6. Return to the neutral position and repeat this exercise for 5 to 10 repetitions before relaxing.
  7. Repeat this exercise on the other side for 5 to 10 repetitions.
  8. Aim to do this 4 times on each side.

To feel the stretch in your upper back and shoulder blades, squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull the resistance band backward. 

Is physiotherapy good for shoulder pain?

Whether from torn cartilage, sprains, strains, tendonitis, arthritis, frozen shoulder, or joint inflammation, the causes of shoulder pain can vary, including the severity of the injuries. However, with the help of a professional physiotherapist, individuals can effectively heal their injuries by reducing pain and discomfort through a series of treatments.

Your physiotherapy treatment plan will work with your needs to ensure your healing journey is optimized in a safe and comfortable environment. While the goal for physiotherapy treatment will depend on the patient, the benefits of attending treatment sessions with a professional for shoulder pain include:

  • Improving the patient’s range of motion and flexibility.
  • Reducing pain and discomfort in and around the treatment area.

Further, depending on the type of shoulder pain the patient is experiencing, a physiotherapist may choose to target the following muscles that connect the shoulder and arm:

  • Infraspinatus (the muscle that supports the shoulder joint)
  • Trapezius muscles (connects the upper back to your shoulders)
  • Teres muscles (responsible for reinforcing and supporting the shoulder joint)
  • Subscapularis (the muscle located on the front of the shoulder)
  • Biceps (the muscle that connects the front of the upper arm to your shoulder)
  • Deltoids (the muscle that attaches at the front, back, and over your shoulder)
  • Rhomboid muscles (connects the upper back to your shoulder blade)
  • Triceps (located on the back of the upper arm area)
  • Supraspinatus (the muscle that supports your shoulder joint)

To ensure your shoulder pain is accurately diagnosed, it is always recommended that patients book an appointment with a physiotherapy clinic as soon as possible. While individuals are able to seek medical help at any point in their healing journey, to ensure patients have the best chance at regaining their strength and mobility, we suggest contacting a physiotherapist for your shoulder pain in the first 72 hours following your injury to book an initial assessment with us.

Do physiotherapy exercises hurt? 

Even though healing injuries throughout the body can be challenging and uncomfortable, physiotherapy exercises are not meant to cause pain. At True Life Wellness and Physiotherapy, our experienced physiotherapists work one-on-one with patients to ensure they feel comfortable, encouraged, and safe at all times during their treatment. 

However, in the event that you feel uncomfortable and experience pain during your physiotherapy appointment, patients are always encouraged to inform their therapist immediately. This will ensure that you do not cause further injury to the treatment area and provide your physiotherapist with the opportunity to modify your treatment plan to accommodate your needs further.

How soon after a shoulder injury should you start physiotherapy? 

Although shoulder injuries tend to vary in severity, seeking the help of a licensed and experienced physiotherapist is vital to ensuring your recovery is comfortable and effective. Therefore, if you have experienced an injury, the waiting period before booking an appointment with a physiotherapist is approximately 72 hours. This waiting period provides the injury to settle as the body begins to heal following the initial trauma.

Further, while it is recommended that individuals seek treatment in the days following an injury, you are still able to seek the help of a physiotherapist at any time. A physiotherapist will create a customized treatment plan that provides you with exercises and therapies that will help promote healing in a comfortable and encouraging environment.

Are you ready to take the first step to heal your shoulder pain? Book an initial assessment with the True Life Wellness and Physiotherapy team today.

What Are Some Top 10 Exercises to Relieve Shoulder Pain and Tightness? 

Are you experiencing shoulder pain and tightness in the area? Here are 1o exercises you can do at home to alleviate some of the pain.

  1. Neck stretches from side to side
  2. Pendulum stretch
  3. Arm crossover stretch
  4. Child’s pose
  5. Eagle arm stretch
  6. Cow face pose
  7. Seated twist
  8. Bent over horizontal abductions
  9. Passive external rotation
  10. Standing row

While at home exercises are useful in helping optimize your healing, seeking the help of a professional is key to ensuring your journey to a pain free lifestyle is safe and effective. 

Finding it hard to recover from your shoulder injury or chronic pain? Book an appointment with the physiotherapist team at True Life Wellness and Physiotherapy to improve your heal, strength, and mobility with the guidance of an experienced therapist today.

What to Expect from a Physical Therapy Appointment?

Upon booking a physical therapy appointment with a licensed physiotherapist for injuries, chronic pain, or other medical pathologies, individuals can expect their first meeting to involve an initial assessment.

During this initial assessment, your physiotherapist will ask you a list of questions regarding your injury and pain. They will also ask you what your goals are for treatment. Once you have answered the required questions, your physiotherapist will ask you to perform a series of physical tests to determine several factors of your injury and overall physical condition, including: 

  • Your range of motion
  • Your flexibility
  • Strength
  • Joint and ligament stability
  • Sensations in your body and reflexes
  • Nerve tests
  • Examination to see if there is any swelling or tenderness around your injured shoulder

Following your initial appointment, your physiotherapist will create a custom treatment plan based on your unique needs as a patient. Then, during your next visit, your physiotherapist will conduct your treatment based on the diagnosis that was made during your initial assessment. Depending on your treatment plan, your appointment may include:

  • Exercises
  • Stretches
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Soft tissue techniques
  • Spinal manipulation
  • Joint mobilization
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Laser therapy

Additionally, to ensure patients heal correctly and efficiently, they may be asked to perform exercises and stretches outside of their treatment sessions for best results. 

Are you experiencing undiagnosed shoulder pain after an injury or medical condition? If so, call and book an appointment for physiotherapy in North York with one of the friendly front staff members at True Life Wellness and Physiotherapy today.

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