Stretches and Exercises to Ease Shoulder and Back Pain

The shoulders and back are two of the most commonly noted areas in the body where pain is experienced. If you are experiencing pain in either of these areas, but perhaps want to try other methods of healing and relief before resorting to surgery, this article is for you. Here, we will be exploring some of the best stretches and exercises to try out in order to potentially provide you with a sense of relief from your pain, and possibly even avoid surgery.

Shoulder Roll

The shoulder roll is an excellent exercise to help to build strength in your shoulder muscles, and to help restore some mobility.

To accomplish the shoulder roll, you simply stand with your arms rested at your sides and then roll your shoulders back using a circular motion. Completing five rotations and then switching to roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion. Repeat two to three times.

Child's Pose

Man doing child's pose

This is a beginner’s yoga pose that is great for stretching the lower back and inner thighs.

To begin, kneel down on a yoga mat or padded surface like carpet with both of your feet behind you. Start to lengthen and push your neck and spine as you place your hands on the ground. Extend your arms out in front of you and bring your forehead to the ground.

Hold for one to three minutes. Repeat three to five times or as much as feels comfortable for you.

Pec Stretch

The pec stretch is a very simple, yet powerfully effective stretch to stretch out your shoulders in a very unique manner.

To do the pec stretch, stand in a doorway and then place one forearm on the frame for the door. Be sure to keep your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle. Very gently allow the weight of your body to draw forward until you start to feel a stretch in your shoulders and chest. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat three times on each side.

Chair Rotation

The chair rotation is an excellent stretch for your lower back, and it is perfect for those who work in office settings or for those who are a bit less mobile. It not only helps to stretch, but to build stretch in your lower back.

Sitting sideways in a chair and keeping your right side resting against the back of your chair. Keep your legs stationary and begin to rotate your torso to the right side. Continue to reach for the back of your chair with your hands. When you reach the right amount of stretch, hold the position and strive to gently deepen the stretch as your muscles begin to warm up and loosen. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and then switch sides. Repeat three times on each side.

Cat-Cow Pose

Woman doing the cat-cow pose to stretch back

Cat-Cow is a yoga pose that feels incredible and is also very valuable in stretching your lower back, and working on using lesser used muscles to support and build strength in more commonly used ones.

Begin on all fours keeping your neck and spine in neutral position. Place your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Inhale and tuck your pelvis, rounding your mid back toward the ceiling. Draw your navel in towards your spine, dropping your head down to carefully relax your neck. Hold for three to five seconds then exhale and return to neutral spine position. Next, allow your back to sink back down as you turn your face up toward the ceiling.

Hold for three to five seconds as well. Repeat five times.

Scapular Squeeze

Scapular squeeze is a very simple stretch that can be accomplished anywhere in order to find fast relief from pain of overworked shoulder muscles. Keeping your arms down at your side, simply squeeze your shoulder blades toward each other. Hold for 10 seconds then release the pose. Repeat three to five times.

The Superman

Woman doing the Superman pose.

If you have severe back problems or injury, this one is not recommended, but the Superman exercise is highly effective for helping to build strength in your lower back and eradicate pain.

To do this exercise, you are going to lay on your stomach and extend your arms above your head.

Keep your neck and spine in a neutral position, and begin to lift your arms and legs at the same time. Pause when you raise up as far as possible and then return to the starting position. Make sure that you use your glutes and your back to raise yourself.

Do as many reps as you can to start, but try to aim for three sets of 10.

Turn to the Experts at OrthoUnited for Relief

It should be noted that if it comes down to the point where these stretches and exercises just are not giving you the pain relief that you need, there are other options to explore, such as surgery, medication and physical therapy, to help you to restore both function and mobility in your spine and shoulders.

Contact OrthoUnited to request an appointment!