Shoulder Stretches: Exercises

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Here are some examples of exercises for you to try. The exercises may be suggested for a condition or for rehabilitation. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercises if you start to have pain.

You will be told when to start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

How to do the exercises

Anterior shoulder stretch (in doorway)

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slide 1 of 3, Anterior shoulder stretch (in doorway),
  1. Stand in a doorway and place one forearm against the door frame. Your elbow should be bent and a little higher than your shoulder.
  2. Relax your shoulder as you lean forward, allowing your chest and shoulder muscles to stretch. You can also turn your body slightly away from your arm to stretch the muscles even more.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
  5. Repeat these steps with your other arm.

Chest expansion

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slide 2 of 3, Chest expansion,
  1. Sit or stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Look straight ahead, and do not allow your head to tilt back. As you take a deep breath, open your arms out to the sides and roll your arms back. Your palms will turn outward, and you will feel a stretch across your chest.
  3. Hold this stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Keep breathing normally and don't hold your breath.
  4. Slowly lower your arms to your sides and let your palms turn back toward your legs.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Overhead stretch

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slide 3 of 3, Overhead stretch,
  1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Or sit up straight in a chair.
  2. Looking straight ahead, raise both arms over your head. Reach up and back with your arms until you feel a stretch in your shoulders. Do not allow your head to tilt back.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then lower your arms to your sides.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.