Shoulder Pain Exercises: Top 3

October 04, 2019 Performance Types of Care

Shoulder Pain Exercises

If you are interested in restoring shoulder health through with targeted shoulder pain exercises, I am sure you have heard by now that the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint is the most mobile joint in the body. 

While it is a ball and socket joint, that comparison can be misleading and make the joint seems more secure than it actually is. 

The socket of the glenoid fossa is in fact not deep enough to allow for a stable and protected fit for the humeral head. 

In reality, the fossa is relatively flat, which means it is imperative that the four key stabilizers (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, teres minor) and doing their job, and the  prime movers, such as the pec major and bicep do not become tight and/or overactive leading to dysfunction and possible pain. 

From shoulder impingement, SLAP Tears, bicep tendonitis, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and many other afflictions, understanding the shoulders connection the scapular and rib cage is the first task. 

Exercises for Shoulder Pain

Below are the top three shoulder pain exercises. Are they right for you? The only way to know for sure is to consult our Seattle chiropractor team at Tangelo.

1. Wall Bug and Dead Bug 

The first thing that should always be looked at when addressing the shoulder is your breathing patterns. 

Are you taking 25,000 to 28,000 breathes into your upper chest cavity? Then you’re probably not allowing the thoracic spine to properly extend, which can lead to stiffness and potential scapulothoracic dysfunction. Bottom line, fix your breathing and use the Dead Bug variation to train correct rib cage position while refining active shoulder range of motion. 

2. Rotator Cuff External Rotation 

Do me a favor; put your phone down, stand up nice and tall and take a few deep breaths. Now look down at your thumbs. Are they turned in or pointed straight out in front of you? If you answered the former, this is probably a good exercise for you. 


If your resting position is an internally rotated humerus and shorted pec group, then you could be setting yourself up for injury or at least a hindered recovery. Exercise aside, you must become mindful of your thumb position from this point on. Starting right now, you are going to actively keep your thumbs forward. 

This is the single best thing you can do to improve posture. When your thumbs are forward, your shoulders go back and your back can straighten up. Once you have checked that box, you can now focus on building strength and endurance to support this position. 

3. Half-Kneeling Windmills 

Let me forewarn you that this exercise is pretty advanced. That being said,  if you can do it pain free then go slow and make the most of each and every rep. 

This exercise does a great job of using your body position and environment as a coach to ensure you are moving correctly threw space. To clear the wall, you better believe you will have to brace your core, set the rib cage, extend and rotation the thoracic spine and upwardly rotate the shoulder blade. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. If you live in the PNW and are looking for a Seattle Chiropractor or Portland Chiropractor, we would be honored to be on your team.

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