How To: Shoulder Stretches with Cooper Physical Therapist Courtney Budd

Hello! We want to show you a few exercises for your shoulder pain. We’ll go through them. Just know that none of these should cause intense pain. Please do them as tolerated. Go gentle. We want you to repeat them daily. If any of them in particular really bother you, just stick with the other exercises as tolerated.

  • The first one we’ll have you do is pull your elbow across your body and hold 30 seconds. We’ll have you repeat this three times.
  • The next maneuver is a shoulder retraction. All you’re going to do is just gently squeeze your shoulders back. Hold one, two, three, and relax. You’re going to repeat this maneuver 10 times.
  • Next, I’m going to have you lay down. If you have a very light stick or cane or something to hold onto, it helps this exercise. Lay down. You’re going to bring your arms overhead. Again, just go as far as you tolerate, your arms are about shoulder width apart. Hold 10 seconds. We’re going to have you repeat this maneuver 10 times.
  • Lastly, going to have you do a doorway stretch for the front of your shoulders. Going to put your hands on either side of the door, around shoulder height, and you are going to lean forward. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times. If your shoulders are very painful in this position, you can try lowering your hands and that may be better tolerated.

A few other tips for your shoulder during this time, if you’re on the computer or driving, you may want to keep your arms down at your side, as opposed to up into this position on the keyboard or on the steering wheel as that will increase some of your shoulder impingement and pain.

Thank you so much. Hope you feel better soon.

Courtney A Budd, PT, MSPT, CSCS, PES, is a Physical Therapist with the Cooper Bone and Joint Institute. No matter your rehabilitation needs, Cooper University Health Care’s physical therapy and rehabilitation specialists provide specialized, focused, and comprehensive care. It’s our goal to help you restore function and enjoy an improved quality of life. Learn more at

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