Neck & Shoulder Pain

10 Best Shoulder Passive Range of Motion Stretches (PROM)

Shoulder passive range of motion (PROM) stretches are to get movement in your shoulder without activating your muscles. This can be used whe it’s too painful to actively move, or when you’ve had a surgery and you are on precautions to not actively move your arm.

Make sure you know which ones you are allowed to do because in some surgeries, you are only suppose to move it a certain amount, even passively.

The first set of movements are Pendulums. These are a great way to get the shoulder and muscles warmed up. They open up the shoulder joint, and usually feel really good when you are having pain. The first one is Pendulum circles, then side to side, and finally front to back.

Next, you will use a pulley system to get that passive range of motion. These are some of my favorites. You can either buy one, or make one at home. The movements are flexion, abduction, internal rotation, and external rotation.

Then you can use a PVC pipe, stick, or cane for passive range of motion. This one is a little harder to make passive, but it will give your shoulder a great stretch. The stretches with this are flexion, abduction, and external rotation.

Make sure if you’ve had a surgery, you are clearing these with your doctor or physical therapist.

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Shoulder Passive Range of Motion

10 Best Rotator Cuff Exercises for Strengthening

These rotator cuff exercises are not only for the rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis), but they are also for many of the muscles around the shoulder and that connect to the scapula. They all work together, so it’s important to exercise all the muscles, not just the specific rotator cuff muscles.

The first set of exercises are pendulums. These are circles, side to side, and front to back. They really help open up the shoulder joint and get all the muscles warmed up.

The next set of exercises are isometric exercises. These are great for when you are on precautions and are not suppose to do movements with the shoulder or when the movement hurts too much to do. Shoulder internal and external rotation isometrics are an effective way to start strengthening the muscles gently.

Now you will do internal and external rotation exercises with a weight. These can be done lying on your side, and are a great next step once the isometric exercises become easy.

Now you will do Is, Ts, Ys, and Ws. These are some of the best ways to strengthen your thoracic back, or the upper back.

Then you have rows and bear hugs with a resistive band. Both of these do a great job strengthening the shoulder and helping with stability of the shoulder.

Serratus punches can be done several ways, but an easy way to do them is with a resistive band. When the serratus muscle is weak, it can cause scapula winging. This can cause a lot of shoulder instability and pain.

Finally, you will strengthen your biceps. The long head of the bicep comes up into the shoulder under the supraspinatus, and it attaches to the labrum. So it’s very important to keep strong as well.

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10 Best Rotator Cuff Pain Stretches

These rotator cuff pain stretches are great for the rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis), as well as many of the muscles around the shoulder and that connect to the scapula and can cause shoulder pain and rotator cuff pain.

All of these shoulder muscles work together, so it’s important to stretch the whole shoulder, not just the specific rotator cuff muscles.

The first set of stretches are pendulums. These are circles, side to side, and front to back. They really help open up the shoulder joint and get all the muscles warmed up.

Next is a scaption stretch. This is not flexion and it’s not abduction, but it’s right in the middle of the two. It’s usually a more comfortable position, and helps stretch many of the shoulder muscles.

The next three are using a stick, PVC pipe, broom, or cane to help with the stretch. These can be passive or active assisted stretches. They help when you might be on precautions and are not suppose to actively lift your arm, or when it just hurts too much to do it actively. They are shoulder flexion, shoulder abduction, and shoulder external rotation.

Using a wall to help support your arm is also very effective when doing wall slides. You can also use the wall or corner for a chest stretch.

Internal rotation can be very hard to get back when you have a shoulder injury or surgery. An internal rotation towel stretch and the sleeper stretch are great for this.

Finally, a prayer stretch or child’s pose is a great way to relax your arms and get a great shoulder stretch.

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10 Best Neck Exercises for Neck Pain Relief

Neck exercises can help prevent neck pain by strengthening the neck muscles, which can help prevent neck injuries. When our neck muscles are weak, they can press on nerves and cause instability.

These are my favorite neck strengthening exercises.

The first is a chin tuck. Chin tucks are not only a great way to strengthen your neck muscles, but they also help correct bad posture by “resetting” the muscles.

The next exercise is a shoulder squeeze. This does a great job of strengthening the trap muscles as well as the rhomboid muscles, and they help open up the chest.

Cervical isometric exercises including extension, flexion, rotation, and sidebending are a good way to start the strengthening process. These work really well when the full movement is either too painful or when you might not be able to do the movement yet per precautions.

The next two exercises use a resistive band for sidebending, rotation and chin tucks. Resistive bands do a great job of getting the concentric and eccentric movement of the muscles.

The last exercise is a shoulder shrug. You can do these with or without weights, and you can do them by standing on a resistive band.

Thanks to Axis Scientific for giving us Dr. Mo Musclestein. Learn more about this muscle replica model and Axis Scientific's other great products.

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10 Best Neck Pain Stretches

Neck pain relief stretches are great for the many muscles in our neck because when any of them are tight, they can cause neck pain, tension headaches, and decreased motion. Neck injuries that can also benefit from neck stretches include cervical spondylosis, cervical stenosis, cervical strain, and many others.

These top 10 stretches are the ones I have found work best for me as well as my patients.

The first set of stretches are active range of motion (AROM) movements. These are to help loosen up the muscles and get them warm before you stretch them out. These are cervical rotation, cervical sidebend, cervical extension, and cervical flexion.

The neck stretch is both a stretch and exercise. It’s one of my favorites because it really helps “reset” the neck muscles, especially when you spend long periods of time looking at a computer screen. This one is great to correct bad posture.

A chest stretch and anterior scalene stretch focuses on the muscles in front of your neck and chest area. They help open up the area and takes pressure off the neck.

The upper trapezius and levator scapulae stretches focus on the muscles in the back of the neck. They often have trigger points, and can cause a lot of neck pain and headaches.

The final stretch is a cervical rotation stretch with a towel. This helps to stretch each segment of your cervical spine at a time. They are also called SNAGs, and do a great job of loosening up the facet joints.

Thanks to Axis Scientific for giving us Dr. Mo Musclestein. Learn more about this muscle replica model and Axis Scientific's other great products.

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