These are a few examples of exercises to stretch you shoulder. Do these exercises regularly 1-2 times a day. You may find them easier to do after a hot shower or bath. It is normal for you to feel a stretching sensation. However if you get ongoing pain, reduce the exercises by doing them less often or less forcefully, or stop completely. If the pain is increasing, see a physiotherapist or a doctor.


Lean forward with support (shown for left shoulder)

Let arm hang down

Swing arm

  • forward and back
  • side to side
  • around in circles (both ways)

Repeat 5 – 10 times each movement


Twisting outwards

Sitting holding a stick (eg. rolling pin, umbrella)

Keep elbow into your side throughout

Push with unaffected arm so hand of problem side is moving away from the mid-line (can be done lying down)

Do not let your body twist round to compensate

Repeat 5 – 10 times


Arm overhead

Lying on your back (shown for left shoulder)

Support problem arm with other hand at wrist and lift it up overhead

Do not let your back arch

Can start with elbows bent

Repeat 5 – 10 times


Twisting outwards / arm overhead

Lying on your back, knees bent and feet flat

Place hands behind neck or head, elbows up to ceiling

Let elbows fall outwards

Repeat 5 – 10 times


Kneeling on all fours

Keep your hands still

Gently sit back towards your heels

To progress take your knees further away from your hands

Repeat 5 – 10 times


Sit or stand

Try and set up a pulley system with the pulley or ring high above you. Pull down with your better arm to help lift the stiff arm up

Repeat 10 times

NB. Normally it is best to have the fixed pulley point behind you.


Stretching the back of the shoulder

Take hand of your problem shoulder across body towards opposite shoulder

Give gentle stretch by pulling with your uninvolved arm at the elbow

Sometimes you can feel more stretch if you lie on your back to do the movement

Repeat 5 times, holding for 20 seconds


Hand behind back

Standing with arms by side

Grasp wrist of problem arm and;

  • gently stretch hand towards your opposite buttock
  • slide your arm up your back

Can progress and use a towel

Repeat 5 times