Shoulder stretches

Headaches, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Rotator Cuff Issues, Shoulder Blade Pain, and many more upper back/upper arm issues can be helped with these stretches.

As with any of my stretches, please note my 3 basic rules.

1. Don’t stretch to the point of PAIN. If you are wincing, holding your breath, cringing, or any other pain signs, you could be doing damage. BACK OFF!

2. Stretching can occasionally make you dizzy, so be sure you are somewhere where you won’t get hurt.

3. It doesn’t matter how long you hold each stretch, the best thing is to stretch often. So if you can do 1 or 2 of theses stretches at your desk at work, watching T.V. at home, or even when at a stand still in a traffic jam, DO IT. Throughout the day our bodies tighten up, so throughout the day we need to stretch them.

I like to start a grouping of stretches at one of an area then work to the opposite end. So these stretches start at the skull and work their way to the elbow.

Our necks move in all directions, and so we need to stretch them in all directions.Sitting down on a kitchen (or other hard) chair, use your working hand to pull your ear to your shoulder. You can hold the bottom of the chair with your stretching hand, so you don’t arch or lean your torso with the stretch.

 

 

Then do the “smell your armpit” stretch. Rotate your head so your nose is pulled towards the front of your shoulder. Try to put your nose as far into your armpit as you comfortably can.

 

 

 

Just rest your interlaced fingers on the back of your head, while you breathe and let gravity pull your chin to your chest. Don’t try to pull your head downwards, as that could lead to the spinal column in your neck getting injured, causing pinched nerves, dizziness, and other unpleasant things.

 

 


Pressing your fingertips around your collarbone will help release the muscles that curve your shoulders inward, giving us all that slumpy look. Make sure you press all around your collarbone though. Try to get your fingers underneath it as well.

 

 

Use your working hand to grab the skin over your Trapezious muscle (the place at the very top of your back) and squeeze. To intensify the stretch you can roll the skin over your fingertips.

 

 

 

 

 

Holding onto the doorknob of a closed door or other handle, keep your back straight and STEP forward. Don’t lean, arch, twist, or otherwise bend your spine. To intensify this stretch do a mini lunge. It works best if you think of pushing your tummy out as you step.

 

 

Stand in a doorway or next to an outside corner wall, and place your stretching forearm and hand against it. Then with your back straight, take one step forward

 

Elbow below your shoulder will stretch the higher parts of your shoulder.

 

 

 

 

 

Elbow even with your shoulder will stretch the middle.

 

 

 

 

 

Elbow above your shoulder will stretch the lower parts.

 

 

 

 

 

Using a chair or counter top, with your elbow straight, bend down onto one knee. You can support your torso by leaning onto your bent knee. Make sure your spine isn’t twisted or bent.

 

 

 

With your stretching hand behind your back, use your working hand to pull your elbow behind your head.

 

 

 

 

Press your finger into the center of your deltoid muscle, where the curve of the bone softens slightly. This point will probably be very tender, so be sure to not press TOO hard (i.e.  DON’T WINCE!)

 

 

 

Then press into the underside of your shoulder blade, at the edge of your armpit where the muscle gets firm. Be sure not to press into your armpit itself, as there are many lymph nodes that you could damage. Sometimes it helps to reach the right spot by pushing your stretching arm forward so that your shoulder blade pokes out a little. This space too, make sure you don’t wince.

 

 

Pinch the fleshy muscles in front of your shoulder, using your whole hand. To intensify this stretch it can help if you pull, push, twist, or otherwise get a little rough with yourself.  Resting your stretching arm on a table in front of you will aid the muscle tissue being worked to relax faster.

 

 

 

Use your working hand to “pinch” the skin all around your upper stretching arm.

 

Mary is a State Licensed and Nationally Certified Massage Therapist. She has experience with Energy Work, Myofascial Massage, Pressure Point Therapy, Reiki, Swedish Massage and Trigger Point Therapy. Mary works with clients of all ages, both male and female, in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

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