Shoulder pain exercise

By Sally Ann Quirke, Chartered Physiotherapist | Filed under: Shoulder Pain, Exercises for Back Pain


Shoulder Rehab Exercises
Exercises for Shoulders

Shoulder rehab exercises are very important in the overall management of shoulder and related back pain. But you need to be aware of the following.

The type of exercise that you do will depend on the initial causes of shoulder pain and injury that you have. Diagnosis is the key.

Subsequent to a correct diagnosis, shoulder pain usually responds well to manual therapy (physiotherapy) and then shoulder rehab exercises are a necessity in the overall management and elimination of shoulder pain.

Check if you have a fracture or a rupture first.

However, before you embark on exercises for your shoulder pain - you must ensure that you do not have fractures and total ruptures of either bones, muscles and tendons within the shoulder structure. If you are unsure, your doctor or physiotherapist will check you out correctly - and if the initial assessment is unclear, they are likely to refer you for an x-ray or MRI scan of the shoulder to confirm their findings. If there are no fractures or ruptures, exercises and treatment are generally safe to follow.

In all cases of shoulder pain, other than fractures and ruptures, movement is of great importance from the outset. I see as many shoulder problems which have worsened from lack of movement (for example Frozen Shoulder) as I do from injury to the shoulder alone.

Basic Movement Exercise

From the outset of your shoulder pain, you should move your shoulder in all directions and ranges that do not hurt. This involves moving your arm forwards, backwards, out to the side, reaching up your back and down your back. Repeat each movement five times every 2 hours until you have received specific help from a doctor or physiotherapist. Alternatively, these set of exercises by by the Royal Charter of Physiotherapy in the UK are useful to do.

Shoulder pain that does not resolve within three days of performing these simple shoulder rehab exercises demands medical attention in order to avoid the complications of lack of movement, inappropriate movement or neglect.

Shoulder Pain Exercises - in summary

Do not sit and wait with a painful shoulder - it may develop into chronic shoulder pain over time!

Once you have been assessed, and a diagnosis has been made, your shoulder rehab exercises will have to be tailored to your specific injury, type of pain and posture. My good posture advice will help you - but more importantly seek a physiotherapist who can identify your problem, and has the skills to work with your shoulder pain in an effective way, including home exercises.


While the content and materials contained in the articles on this website have been written & researched by Sally Ann Quirke, a professional, practising & fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) based in Ireland, they are provided for general information and educational purposes only. They do not constitute medical advice on any particular individual situation. Please see your Chartered Physiotherapist or other medical practitioner for full and individual consultation.

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