Shoulder pain can be a daily challenge. Stretching may help reduce the burden.
Many people deal with chronic shoulder pain. It can stem from chronic health conditions, past injuries, inflammation, or other physical strains on the body. Also, pain in the shoulders may become more prominent with age. Furthermore, lifestyle factors such as sleep, exercise, stress levels, and food choices can play a role in the severity and frequency of the pain.
The Most Common Causes of Shoulder Pain
Rotator cuff challenges are a top culprit of shoulder pain. Shoulder pain associated with the rotator cuff could result from an injury or damage to the rotator cuff as well as inflammation that impacts it. Rotator cuff problems often result from overuse resulting in tendonitis, strain, or tears.
Another condition, called frozen shoulder, impacts the tissue around the joint and causes impairments to the range of motion. This condition can result from excessive inflammation in the body. People with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, autoimmune-related diseases, and those that cause hormonal imbalances may have a higher risk of developing a frozen shoulder.
Past injury to the shoulders or other nearby body parts like the neck or upper arms can leave behind nagging pain that may persist for some time. Also, if someone wore a sling after injury or surgery, they may have an increased likelihood to develop shoulder problems.
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Shoulder pain may also be a sign of arthritis, which will cause stiffness and can cause other problems, such as bone spurs. Osteoarthritis is a structural breakdown. Other types of arthritis are autoimmune-related. In that regard, other autoimmune diseases will contribute to pain in joints and tissues, including in the shoulders.
Other circumstances that can aggravate the shoulders include structural problems in other areas, such as tightness in the neck or other muscles of the back. Also, pinched nerves, chronic overuse leading to instability, and poor sleep or posture can lead to shoulder pain.
Stretching Can Help to Relieve Shoulder Pain
In general daily stretching can help reduce pain, improve overall shoulder function, and support injury prevention.
Shoulder stretches that focus on mobility and range of motion can be preventive for the onset of shoulder problems. Many of these shoulder stretches can be performed while seated. Massage or compression treatments after stretching may provide additional support.
Stretch sequences can be supportive when shoulder problems already exist as well. Physical therapy, which is common after an injury or surgery, may also focus on gaining strength and flexibility. A physical therapist or an appropriately trained personal trainer can help to establish good form.
The crossover arm stretch is by far one of the most popular shoulder stretches.
Other common recommendations include pendulum exercises where the arm is hung in front of the body then moved back and forth, side to side, or in circles.
Elastic bands can be supportive for both stretching and strength building. Using elastic bands, row exercises, rotations, and abduction or adduction focused exercises can help the shoulder.
Neck exercises can also help to release muscle tension overflowing to the shoulders.
Finally, shoulder rolls can be a form of dynamic stretching. These are some of the most basic and easy exercises to help loosen up both the shoulders and neck.
If post-injury or surgery, be sure to consult your health providers to understand how gentle the stretching will need to be. Inappropriate stretches could inadvertently cause prolonged damage.