10 Home Exercises for Shoulder Impingement Relief

Whether you’re an athlete or a sports fan, you likely already know how serious a shoulder injury can be. Not only are they extremely painful, but they also lead to a lot of time out of action. They can take ages to heal, all the while limiting your daily activities. The shoulder joint is by far the most complicated joint in all of the human body.

It is responsible for the movement of your arm along with the stability that is needed for the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones that all work together to make up your shoulder. With so many parts making up your shoulder, it’s not uncommon to experience loss of mobility or pain as a result of an injury.

One of the most common ways that rotator cuff muscles get worn down is repetitive overhead motion. This is a very common cause of injury. Here are eight home exercises that can help with your shoulder impingement.

1. Open book

To perform the open book, you need to start by lying on the floor on your side. Keep your knees bent in front of the hips while your hands are over your ears. Ensure that your elbows are pointing forward while you do this.

Reach the top of your elbow to the backside while exhaling. Keep reaching until it touches either an elevated prop or the floor. You can use a pillow as a prop if you need to decrease the range of motion. Hold the position for a complete inhale and then exhale steadily.

Ensure that your shoulders are relaxed as you exhale. If your shoulders are tense while you’re exhaling it will put undue pressure on it which might cause more harm than good. This should give off a sensation that resembles unwinding the top portion of your spinal cord. Repeat the action a few times until you feel the tension give way.

2. Thoracic extension

To perform this exercise, you’ll need to start out by sitting on the floor. You can use a rolled towel or foam roller to support your mid back and allow you to lean on it. Support your head with your hands while keeping your elbows wide. Be sure to keep your feet on the floor so that you have a stable base. Start by inhaling, and then slowly exhale as you extend your spine over the towel or roller.

Don’t go too far, just move to the point where you feel your chest, abdominals, and upper back gently being stretched. Hold your breaths for a few moments before you exhale and return to the original position that you were in. It’s preferred that you contract your abdominals in order to exhale as this will make it easier for you to control the pace while also relieving tension in your core. It might take some practice to get the technique down but it’ll be worth the effort.

3. Head tilt

The third exercise on our list is one that we refer to as the head tilt. Start out in either a kneeling or seated position. You can go for either one. We recommend that you try out both and see which one is more suited to your needs.

Once you have determined which position you’re more comfortable in, proceed with the result of the instructions. Keep your head stacked above your shoulders and have your arms resting on the sides. Start by taking a deep breath, and then slowly exhale as you lower your left ear and bring it toward your left shoulder.

Don’t go too far, just lower it to the point that you feel the stretch coming on. Once you feel the stretch, hold your breath for a few moments and then slowly exhale before returning to the original position. Repeat the motion a few times for the best results.

4. Neckroll

Okay so our fourth technique goes by a few names, but it is most prominently referred to as the neck roll. Much like the previous exercise, you’ll need to figure out whether you’re more comfortable in a kneeling position or a seated position. If you already completed the previous exercise then you can most likely just go with the position that you picked last time.

Once you’ve determined which one works best for you, perform the same motion as last time. The only difference is that after lowering your head and feeling the stretch, you need to pull your chin down to the direction of your chest. Move your head to your right and left shoulders in an alternating fashion. Be sure to take a slow pace so you don’t pull anything.

Breath in as your head is centered and exhale as you turn. If you feel any discomfort or pain, take a slower pace.

5. Kneeling arm circle

Okay so you can also use a kneeling position for this exercise but the only difference is that it needs to be a high kneeling position as opposed to a low kneeling position. You could also do this exercise if you’re seated on a chair.

Start by inhaling, and as you breathe in, reach your right arm up towards the ceiling. Pause for a moment before exhaling and circling your arm back down until it reaches your hip. Perform the same action with your left arm.

Be sure to bring your arm down in a slow and controlled fashion so that you can get the full benefit of the exercise without causing further damage. Try to take big but slow breaths. Controlled breathing is a very important part of this exercise as it can dictate the overall pace. If you feel any pain in your shoulder, slow down the motion.

6. Wingspan

You can use either a high kneeling position for this exercise or you could sit on a chair if one is available. As with most of the other exercises on this list, please ensure that your head is right above your shoulders and your arms are stretched on your sides.

Take a very long and deep breath as you reach your right arm overhead with your palms facing forward. Hold the position as well as your breath for a few moments. After holding it in, slowly exhale as you bring your arm down at the same pace of your breathing.

After taking a moment to reset your breathing, repeat the motion with your other arm. Keep alternating until both arms get worked equally. Another variation of this exercise involves you reaching for the center of your back, but you should refrain from that until you master the basic form.

7. Scapula slide

Get on all fours either on a mat, carpet, or just your floor. Keep your back flat and straight. Ensure that your knees are squarely under your hips and your wrists are squarely under your shoulder. Use force to press into your fingertips and palms until you feel their engagement from your midback.

Keep your elbows completely straight as you inhale and then slide the blades of your shoulders — otherwise known as the scapula — together. The motion will make you feel like you’re dropping your chest toward the floor. Afterward, exhale slowly as you press your hands toward the ground and resume the starting position.

Keeping your elbows straight is paramount to ensure that you don’t damage your scapula. Some people find it difficult to complete this exercise while they’re on all fours. You could try standing up and substituting the floor for one of the walls in your room to see if that makes it easier for you.

8. Neck retractions

Neck retractions are another great home exercise that you can use to relieve your shoulder impingement. To get started, lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Keep your arms down on your sides and look straight up toward the ceiling. After taking a few moments to regulate your breathing, inhale slowly as you bring your chin closer to the ceiling. Be sure to keep the back of your head flatly on the floor.

After holding the pose for a few moments, you can slowly exhale as you bring your chin back towards the throat. You should feel your neck get longer if you do this properly. Be sure to not force your chin too far toward the ceiling as this could lead to an injury. Your body will tell you when it is nearing it’s limit so that you can stop. Pushing the envelope could lead to torn paper if you catch our drift.

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