Reach, lift, carry, pull, press—we ask our shoulders to perform a variety of tasks every day. Because of its versatile uses and the various strains we put on it, your shoulder is likely to radiate pain from time to time. Fortunately, there are different physical therapy exercises for shoulder pain that can help relieve tension and soreness in the shoulder complex. The shoulder complex is the collection of body parts that can impact how your shoulder feels, including your:

  • Neck
  • Ribs
  • Shoulder blade
  • Clavicle
  • Humerus

While seeing a physical therapist is one of the best ways to restore shoulder mobility, Mettler Center recognizes that it’s just as crucial for patients to have an at-home physical therapy routine. Read on for shoulder stretches and exercises that reduce discomfort and improve shoulder strength and flexibility.


Standing and facing a wall, put one hand on it at the shoulder level or any height you feel comfortable. Then walk up the wall with you fingers and reach as high as you can without pain.

Neck Release

To engage in the neck release, stand or sit up straight. Slowly tilt your chin toward your chest. Bring it down until you feel the slight stretch in the back of your neck. Lean your head to the left to stretch your right shoulder, then lean to the right to relieve your left shoulder.

Pro tip: Hold this stretch on each side for about a minute. Practice deep breaths simultaneously to get a better stretch and release more tension.

Chest Expansion

Grasp an exercise band, tie, or rope with both hands behind your back. Bring your shoulder blades toward one another. Allow your chest and chin to rise toward the ceiling. Hold for 10–15 seconds while breathing. Deep breathing will also enhance the impact of this exercise.

Arm Across Chest

Stretch your right arm in front of your body, palm facing down. With your left hand, reach behind your right elbow and gently pull your right arm across your chest. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Release and repeat with your other arm.

Pro tip: When you pull your arm over your chest, move it as necessary—you should feel an alleviating stretch, not a strenuous or painful one.

If you’re looking for further professional guidance on proper physical therapy exercises for shoulder pain, consider Mettler Center. Our physical therapy services strive to bring back our patients’ mobility and comfort. Connect with our team of PT cognoscenti today to learn about our restorative and evidence-based approaches to providing optimal results.