Three Exercises That Are Good For Stiff, Sore Shoulders

If your shoulders are often sore and stiff, doing some stretching exercises may ease your discomfort.  Here are three exercises to try the next time your shoulder is bothering you.

Hanging Shoulder Stretches

This exercise will help loosen the muscles not only in your arm, but also in your back where it ties into your shoulder. Find a table or desk that's about waist height. Brace one arm on the desk, grasping its edge with your hand. Spread your legs out slightly (one in front of the other) and lean forward, letting the shoulder furthest from the table drop so your arm is just hanging. Relax all of the muscles in this arm, and swing your arm in a small circle. Slowly increase the diameter of the circle as the muscles start to loosen up. Then, repeat these steps with the other arm. Even if only one shoulder is sore, it's best to work them both in the same way so that you maintain equal flexibility on both sides of your body.

Towel Stretch

This is a really good stretch to try with the stiffness seems to be concentrated in the muscles in your back and towards the back of your shoulder. Twist a towel into a snake, and grab one end with each hand, passing the towel across your back horizontally. With one arm, pull up and towards your front, straining slightly against the towel. Hold the pull for 10 seconds, and then release it. Repeat the stretch with the other arm. Keep alternating arms until you've stretched both sides 10–12 times.

"Walking" Up the Wall

If the stiffness and soreness are worse in the arm portion of your shoulder or towards the front of your shoulder, this move will help loosen those muscles. Stand about 2 feet from a wall. Place the fingers of one hand against the wall. Then, begin walking your fingers up the wall like little legs or like a spider. Continue until you have raised your arm as high as you can without serious pain. Then, walk your fingers back down again. Walk them up again, aiming to go a bit further than you did the first time. Repeat this process with the other shoulder, even if it's not really sore.

If you have ongoing shoulder soreness that does not respond to these exercises, visit an orthopedic doctor for diagnosis and treatment. They can recommend more specialized exercises based on your needs.