I was injured in a car accident that left my back severely knotted, right underneath the shoulder blade. After 18 months of regular physical therapy, I finally figured out the only way to beat the pain was to was to perform some basic shoulder stretches every day.
As long as I do that (and drink plenty of water) I don’t have any pain. (In fact, I can now get away with doing these stretches a couple of times a week.
There are a lot of reasons why your should may be knotted and painful.
For example, most of us spend a good portion of our life sitting, and the slouched over posture that we regularly assume, causes our pectoralis muscles to shorten and puts strain on our shoulder muscles.
Then there are those of us who are very active in sports and may overuse our shoulders regularly.
Preventive Stretching Is Key!
All too often we don’t adequately warm up our shoulder blades. This is simply asking for injury. Take the 10 minutes before any vigorous activity to properly warm up your shoulder muscles.
While stretching is important, slow movement with light resistance also works wonders to help warm up and loosen joints… as you’ll see in this video. These exercises can also help correct damage.
How To Do A Shoulder Warmup
Here Are My 5 Favorite Stretches For Kicking The Shoulder Pain
Make it a habit to do these throughout the day. This is especially important if you work a desk gig. Get up every hour and do at least one of these stretches. Your back will thank you.
Stretch #1 – The Corner Stretch
This one makes all of the difference for me. Ideally, I will find an empty corner. Placing my hands on each wall, I lean into the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, and push back out. And Repeat.
If a corner is not available, I will use the edge of my desk, or even just lean into a wall. While not as effective as the corner stretch, these alternate stretches are very similar and work wonders for releasing knots in your rhomboid muscles. (At least, they do for me!)
Stretch #2 – Arm Across The Front Stretch
You’ve probably done this stretch half a dozen times. You reach one arm straight in front of you, and then use the opposing forearm to apply pressure and fold it against your body.
The trick is to play with adjusting what angle your arm is at. Sometimes by adjusting it up or down during the stretch, you can better target the troublesome spot.
Stretch #3 – Tilted Head Stretch
Stretching your neck is important, since those muscles along side your neck work closely with your shoulder muscles. My favorite stretch is to straighten one hand towards the floor and then pull on it with the other. I then tilt my head the opposite direction for a nice, deep stretch of the scalenes and Levator Scapulae.
Alternately, I also employee a variation where I take one arm and fold it behind my back. Taking the fingertips from my other hand, I touch the back of my head and bring it forward and to the side. Sometimes this stretch lets me go a little deeper and work on really stubborn spots.
Stretch #4 – Doorjam Grab
Stand perpendicular to a doorjam. With the arm farthest away, reach across your body and grasp the doorjam. Now, take a step back and slowly twist, letting your arm pull against the doorjam. It really stretches out those trapezius and rhomboid muscles that are hard to get at.
You can also use the railing of a stairway, a fence or any other stationary, vertical object that you can get your hands on.
Stretch #5 – Hindu Pushups
I find that this pushup does not bother me as normal pushups do. It strengthens the whole range of supporting muscles, while simultaneously incorporating dynamic stretching. I’ve found that when I practice these regularly, I have much less pain and risk of injury.
I’ll Let George St. Pierre Demonstrate: