Often, people have shoulder pain because their shoulder is not sitting in proper alignment, or not moving properly, because the surrounding muscles are not properly balanced. That is, some muscles can be overly strong while others are too weak.

A home exercise program for the shoulder often includes strengthening and stretching exercises to target these imbalances. For someone with rounded shoulders, often stretches are given for the chest muscles, such as what is shown here. Strengthening exercises are given for the upper back muscles, such as the rhomboids, like the T and Y exercises shown here. The scapula bone is actually the joint that “houses” the arm bone so it is important in the function of the shoulder.  Stabilization and strengthening of the muscles that control the scapula are important too – controlling the scapula helps to in turn control the arm because they move together.

Pain can also come from not having full range of the shoulder, which can also be helped by exercises. Initially though, if the muscles are too weak or the shoulder is too painful to move in full range on its own, an exercise where the non-painful arm helps the painful arm to move into a greater range can be used. When full range is achieved, strengthening can begin. Finally, advanced functional exercises that restore original function are added. A throwing athlete would work on throwing with proper form, keeping in mind all the previous exercises they have already mastered.