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5 Stretches and Exercises for Shoulder Pain

shoulder side sleeper stretch

Shoulder side sleeper stretch

Increasing internal rotation of the shoulder is a good way to “open the shoulder” and assist with overall mobility which may help reduce or prevent pain, says Eric Madia, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and head of sport science at Sports Performance Lab in Middletown, New Jersey.

In fact, Madia says that the ability of complex joints like the shoulder to internally rotate provides a good indication of the joint’s health. “It must be achieved before beginning other stretches,” he says.

The side sleeper stretch is an easy-to-try stretch that allows you to work on your shoulder’s internal rotation. Just remember, the key to preventing and eliminating pain isn’t to become overly flexible.

You don’t need to overdo this stretch or push yourself past your comfort zone. Rather, when you find your “end point” hold for a few breaths, then release before repeating the stretch.

How to do it

Lie on your right side on a mat, your knees bent and legs stacked, your right arm extended as though you were pointing your arm straight ahead from your shoulder. Bend your right elbow to 90-degrees, your elbow pressing into the mat, your fingers pointing upward, so your forearm is perpendicular to the mat. Make a fist with your right hand.

From this position, keeping your shoulder and upper arm stable, rotate your shoulder and lower your forearm and palm toward the mat. As you begin to get to your “sticking point,” use your left hand to grip your right fist and lightly press your right arm a little deeper into the stretch.

The keyword here being “lightly”you should feel a stretch, but do not push yourself to a place of discomfort.

Hold for a breath, then release. Repeat 10 repetitions before switching sides. Perform two to three sets.

(Related: The 17 Best Arm Exercises For Women)

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