Our Favorite Stretches to Ease Shoulder Pain

February 7, 2024 | By: Raleigh Orthopaedic Team

The shoulder joint plays a pivotal role in our daily activities, facilitating movements from lifting and pulling to carrying objects. However, the demands we place on this complex joint can sometimes lead to tension or discomfort, especially after repetitive motions. Fortunately, incorporating targeted stretches and exercises into your routine can significantly alleviate stress and strain on the shoulder joint while enhancing its mobility and functionality.

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to five simple yet effective stretches designed to ease shoulder pain right from the comfort of your home, requiring minimal equipment:

  • Neck Release – Sit up straight and slowly bring your chin toward your chest until you feel the stretch in the back of your neck. Gently lean you head to the left, to stretch the right shoulder. Then, after slowly bringing your head back to center, lean to the right side to stretch your left shoulder. Hold the stretch for up to one minute for each side. Repeat this stretch 3 -5 times, while focusing on relaxing and loosening the shoulder muscles.
  • Downward Dog Pose – Commonly practiced in yoga, the downward dog is an inversion pose used to strengthen and stretch the shoulder and back muscles. Kneel and place your hands parallel to your knees. Press into your hands, lifting your hips up. Keep your spine straight and lean your head toward your feet so the shoulders are flexed. Hold the pose for one minute and repeat up to 3 more times.
  • Pendulum – Lean forward, place your right hand on a counter or waist-high table for support. Let your left arm relax by your side. Gently swing you left arm forward and backward, in a circular motion. Repeat the movement 8-10 times. Switch sides and then repeat the sequence.
  • Sleeper Stretch – Lie down on your left-hand side on a flat, firm surface. Keep your shoulder under you and bend your left arm to a 90-degree angle. Use your right arm to push the left arm down; you should feel the stretch in the back of your left shoulder. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then relax for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat the movements four times on each side.
  • Cross-Over Arm Stretch – Start by placing your feet about shoulder width apart. Relax your shoulders, gently pull your right arm across your chest. Hold your upper right arm using your left hand, pulling it until you can feel the stretch through the back of your shoulder. Hold the stretch for thirty seconds. Repeat the stretch 3 times. Switch sides and perform the cross-over movement with the opposite arm.


Have you experienced an acute injury or trauma to your shoulder? Is shoulder pain affecting your sleep or your ability to complete everyday tasks? Don’t wait – make an appointment with one of our fellowship-trained shoulder specialists today!

Expert Orthopedic Care at Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic

Your well-being is important to us. Raleigh Orthopaedic is Wake County’s oldest and most experienced orthopedic practice, serving the Triangle and surrounding regions of central North Carolina since 1919. Raleigh Orthopaedic offers online scheduling so click here or call us at (919) 781-5600 to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our Raleigh Orthopaedic Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.