Bottom Line:

Did you know… your shoulder is the most unstable and moveable joint in your body. Its wide range of motion is facilitated by four primary muscles and their tendons, which together are called the rotator cuff.

If your shoulder becomes inflamed or an impingement occurs, you may make the mistake of avoiding using your arm to help it heal. It may surprise you to learn that controlled movement is one of the best ways to heal. Not moving your shoulder can actually contribute to more pain - or even lead to a frozen shoulder!

Why it Matters:

The most common source of pain in the shoulder is the tendons. Your tendons attach the muscles of the shoulder to the bones.  If the sac of fluid that cushions your shoulder becomes swollen and painful as a result of repetitive motion, you may have bursitis.  If a tendon in your shoulder becomes inflamed, you may have tendonitis.  If a tendon gets pinched between or under the bones of your shoulder, it can result in shoulder impingement. Lifting overhead repetitively can cause impingement, and you may experience swelling and pain. 

If a tendon in your shoulder becomes torn, you guessed it – you have a rotator cuff tear. Your rotator cuff can become damaged due to overuse, injury, or age, and tears usually cause pain when lifting and may be accompanied by a popping sound.

Our Favorite Shoulder Exercises:

Shoulder pain is something we work with every day in our office. Here are three of our most commonly prescribed at-home exercise to help treat shoulder pain in Centennial, Colorado.

Remember: these exercises are for demonstrative purposes only and if you are having pain or limitations, be sure to get checked out by a qualified healthcare provider.



Your shoulder blades do the bulk of the movement and frequently we find motor control dysfunction and/or weakness in the muscle which control them. The scap push up is a great way to re-train control of the shoulder blades and doesn’t require any equipment. If the plank or push-up position is too difficult, feel free to do these on your knees or elevated on a bench or chair.


This is a staple in my warm-up routine. It’s a great way to get some big movement into the shoulders, thoracic spine, and shoulder blades. Use a PVC pipe, broomstick, or any other light object. Start with your grip wide and slowly work your way more narrow. Keep your elbows straight and locked out. If you can’t do that your grip is too narrow. GO SLOW!


Many times we see people with shoulder pain and poor posture is contributing to it. The wall arm bar only requires a corner, but it’s a great way to stretch out the chest and shoulders. Hold each side for 10-15 deep breaths and slowly come out of the stretch. Don’t just peel off the wall - put your foot down and slowly turn towards the stretched side.

Next Steps:

Your shoulder and spine work together. While it may seem like they are two completely different and independent areas of the body, research has shown that postural abnormalities can play a significant role in your likelihood of developing shoulder pain. Maintaining a full range of motion in your shoulder and in the spinal joints of your neck and mid-back can help reduce your chances of experiencing shoulder pain. If you’ve been living with shoulder discomfort or difficulty moving, take a moment to contact us for a complete evaluation. We'll work together with you to create a movement-based plan that gives you the best chance of finding long-term relief, naturally.

Use the link below to get started on your journey to better shoulder health!



Immediate Effects of Spinal Manipulation on Shoulder Motion Range and Pain in Individuals with Shoulder Pain: A Randomized Trial. J Chiropr Med. 2019.