Top 10 Physiotherapy Exercises For Shoulder Pain & Tightness

Shoulder Pain and Tightness

Shoulder injuries are a common occurrence. There’s a good chance you will feel some pain, tension, or sensation in this area. According to studies, back pain, shoulder pain, or tightness affects 18 to 26 percent of adults. Fortunately, you can take steps to alleviate shoulder pain.

Frozen shoulder (also known as adhesive capsulitis) is a condition that causes the shoulder to be stiff and painful, with limited motion in all directions. Frozen shoulder exercises are typically the cornerstone of frozen shoulder treatment.

Continue reading to learn how to perform ten simple shoulder exercises to relieve pain and tightness. These stretching and strengthening exercises will also improve your flexibility, increase your range of motion, and make your movements more comfortable and easy.

10 Exercises To Relieve Shoulder Pain And Tightness

The shoulder rehabilitation protocol gets divided into two parts: flexibility and strength. The first element of shoulder rehabilitation is flexibility, which includes a range of motion (ROM), static stretching, and dynamic stretching. The second element of shoulder rehabilitation is strength, including dumbbell, tubing, and functional exercises.

Warm up your shoulder before beginning the following frozen shoulder exercises. The best way to do this is to take a 10 to 15-minute warm shower or bath. You can also use a moist heating pad or a damp towel heated in the microwave, but it may not be effective. When performing the following frozen shoulder exercises, stretch to the point of tension but not pain.

1. Cross-chest stretch.

This exercise improves your shoulder joint’s flexibility and range of motion, as well as the muscles surrounding it. If you experience shoulder pain while performing this exercise, lower your arm.

  1. Cross your right arm over your chest.
  2. Place it in the crease of your left elbow or support your arm with your left hand.
  3. Maintain this position for up to one minute.
  4. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Repeat on each side 3-5 times. Lift your arm to shoulder height to deepen the stretch.

2. Release of the neck.

This exercise is a tender way to relax your neck and shoulders.

  1. Bring your chin to your chest. You will feel a stretch along the back of your neck.
  2. To stretch your right shoulder, gently tilt your head to the left.
  3. Maintain this position for up to one minute.
  4. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.

To deepen this stretch, you need to gently guide the movement, with one hand on your shoulder and the other above your ear. Then, as you lower your chin toward your chest, you should feel a stretch along the back of your neck. Next, you need to lean your head to the left to extend your right shoulder. You must maintain this position for up to one minute. Repeat on the opposite side, completing each side 3-5 times.

3. Chest extension.

This chest extension exercise improves your shoulder flexibility and range of motion.

  1. Hold an exercise band, strap, or towel behind your back with both hands while standing.
  2. Extend your chest as you bring your shoulder blades closer together.
  3. Raise your chin and gaze up at the ceiling.
  4. Continue to hold for up to 30 seconds.
  5. Repetition 3-5 times.

Place your hands closer together along the towel or strap to deepen the stretch.

4. Spinal rolls with the Eagle Arms.

This exercise stretches the muscles in your shoulders. If the arm position is too painful, perform this exercise while holding opposite shoulders.

  1. Extend your arms out to the sides while seated.
  2. Bring your elbows together in front of your body, with your right arm on top.
  3. Bend your elbows and bring your forearms and hands together.
  4. Bring your palms together with your right hand.
  5. Maintain this posture for 15 seconds.
  6. Exhale by rolling your spine and drawing your elbows in toward your chest.
  7. Open your chest and lift your arms as you inhale.
  8. Repeat this movement for 1 minute.
  9. Repeat on the other side.

5. Sitting twist.

This stretch stretches the shoulders and neck. During this exercise, keep your hips facing forward. Allow the twist to begin in the lower back.

  1. Take a seat in a chair with your ankles directly beneath your knees.
  2. Twist your upper body to the right, bringing your left hand back to your thigh.
  3. Place your right hand wherever it is most comfortable.
  4. Maintain this posture for up to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.
  6. Repeat 3–5 times on each side.

6. Do shoulder circles.

This exercise will help you warm up your shoulder joints and increase your flexibility.

  1. Take a seat and place your left hand on the back of it.
  2. Let your right-hand dangle down.
  3. Make five circles with your right hand, one in each direction.
  4. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Repeat 2–3 times per day.

7. Shoulder stretch in the doorway.

This stretch opens up the chest and strengthens the shoulders.

  1. Form a 90-degree angle with your elbows and arms in a doorway.
  2. Step forward with your right foot, pressing your palms into the door frame’s sides.
  3. Take a step forward and engage your core. Hold this position for a maximum of 30 seconds.
  4. Do the stretch again with your left foot forward.
  5. Repeat 2–3 times on each side.

8. Downward Dog Pose.

This inversion pose both strengthens and stretches your shoulder and back muscles.

  1. Begin by getting down on your hands and knees. Lift your hips toward the ceiling by pressing into your hands.
  2. Maintain a slight bend in your knees while evenly distributing your weight between your hands and feet.
  3. Maintaining a straight spine, bring your head toward your feet, shoulders flexed overhead.
  4. Maintain this pose for up to one minute.

9. The Child’s Pose.

This restorative pose helps to relax your back, shoulders, and neck. To provide support, place a cushion under your brow, chest, or legs.

  1. Starting in Downward Dog, bring your big toes together and your knees slightly wider than your hips.
  2. Return your hips to your heels and extend your arms in front of you.
  3. Relax your spine and shoulders by allowing your chest to fall heavily to the floor.
  4. Hold this position for up to 5 minutes.

10. Thread the needle.

This pose releases tension in the chest, shoulders, and upper back. To provide support, place a cushion or block under your head or shoulder.

  1. Begin by getting down on your hands and knees. Raise your right hand to the ceiling, palm facing away from your body.
  2. Lower your arm, bringing it under your chest and over to the left side of your body, palm up.
  3. Avoid collapsing into this area by activating your right shoulder and arm.
  4. Support yourself by keeping your left hand on the floor, lifting it toward the ceiling, or bringing it around to the inside of your right thigh.
  5. Maintain this posture for up to 30 seconds.
  6. Return to Child’s Pose before repeating this stretch on the other side.

Other Remedies For Shoulder Pain & Tightness

You can try home remedies to relieve pain and promote healing in addition to shoulder exercises. Also, you can enhance healing with a home visit physiotherapist. If you want your shoulder pain and tightness to subside, you can try any of the following methods and find out if it works for you.

  • Rest, ice, and compress your shoulder using the RICE method.
  • Elevate your shoulder above your heart level whenever possible.
  • You can also use a heating pad or take an Epsom salt bath.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may get used to alleviate pain.
  • Alternatively, try natural pain relievers like turmeric, willow bark, or cloves.
  • You can apply a menthol rub, arnica cream, or essential oil blend to the affected area several times a day.
  • Massage and acupuncture treatments regularly can help relieve pain and restore balance to your body. Manipulative therapies, such as chiropractic adjustments, osteopathy, or Rolfing, are also options.

Preventing Shoulder Pain And Tightness

Aside from these exercises, you can avoid shoulder pain by following a few simple tips and guidelines. It will help alleviate pain if it occurs and serve as good practice to dodge it in the future.

  1. Maintain good posture and avoid slouching or hunching over while sitting, standing, and performing daily tasks.
  2. Pay attention to how you carry your body throughout the day and make changes as needed.
  3. Get plenty of rest and avoid any activity that causes pain.

Take precautions when performing activities such as reaching for something overhead, carrying heavy objects, or bending forward. If you must perform these tasks as part of your job, consider how you can move your body to minimize discomfort. If you participate in sports that cause shoulder pain, make sure to use the proper form and technique.

When to See The Doctor?

If unable to move your shoulders or if your pain worsens or does not improve after two weeks of treatment, consult a doctor or physical therapist. If you have severe pain in both shoulders or both thighs, or if you have a fever, you should see a doctor right away. A doctor may perform an X-ray, ultrasound scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to determine what is causing the pain and the best treatment plan.

Consult a doctor right away if you have pain in both shoulders, suffer from pain in both thighs, have a fever, or otherwise feel ill. These could be symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatic, a condition that requires immediate treatment.


Shoulder injuries can occur as a result of repetitive movements, manual labor, sports, or aging. This part of the body can also get injured as a result of a bad fall or accident. Many people seek medical attention for the front or anterior shoulder pain.

While shoulder pain is not uncommon, it is preventable and treatable. To relieve and prevent shoulder pain, perform these exercises regularly. You can also try home remedies on your own to treat shoulder pain. Even if you feel better, continuing the workouts and treatments will help prevent the pain from returning. If you have any medical conditions that could get harmed by exercise, consult your doctor before beginning any program.

Looking For Physical Therapists For Shoulder Pain & Tightness At Home In Dubai?

The process of recovery for any ailment, including shoulder injury or pain, requires expert guidance and treatment. Aims Healthcare offers several physiotherapy treatments at home in Dubai. Our DHA-licensed physiotherapists provide physical therapy at home for recovery from surgeries, disabilities, injuries, and other disorders as well. Therefore, if you wish to avail yourself of the Physiotherapy-at-Home services in Dubai, get in touch at +971 458 26 555 or fill out the contact form for more information.

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