By Ben Fletcher

Avoiding Shoulder Pain with Mobility and Stability Exercises

Shoulder pain is a common problem, particularly in those who spend a lot of time in a seated position, for example, at a computer, commuting in the car or on the sofa watching TV. It makes sense that in order to avoid shoulder pain, you should look at taking measures to improve your shoulder health.

When we talk about shoulder health, we generally mean mobility in the upper back, also known as the thoracic spine or T-spine, along with the stability of the shoulder, or scapula. For our shoulder to move properly, we need a strong and stable scapula.

Here's a few examples of exercises that will improve your shoulder health and help you to avoid shoulder pain:

T-spine rotations

  1. Start in a 3-point position with one hand on your head.
  2. Keeping your hips in a fixed position, rotate round as far as possible in a controlled movement and then back to the start position.
  3. Remember to keep looking towards your elbow.

Reverse Snow Angels

  1. Lie on your front and rest your forehead on the mat.
  2. Place your arms above your head and raise them off the floor.
  3. In a controlled movement, keeping your arms off the floor, rotate them towards your hip and then back to the start position.

Prone Is, Ys and Ts

  1. Lie on your front and rest your forehead on the mat.
  2. Place your arms above your head.
  3. In a controlled movement, raise them off the floor to create an I, Y and T sequence.
  4. Remember to keep your thumbs pointing to the ceiling.

Shoulder Taps

  1. Start in a high plank position.
  2. In a controlled movement, touch your opposite shoulder with your hand.
  3. The aim is to keep the rest of your body as still as possible.
  4. If you find that there is movement in your hips and trunk, place your feet wider apart.

Swiss ball wall rotations

  1. Stand tall, pushing a Swiss ball into the wall with a straight arm.
  2. Make small circles in both directions while maintaining the pressure on the ball.
  3. You should try to keep your hips and shoulders square.

Experiencing shoulder pain?

According to the NHS, there are a number of things you can do yourself to relieve symptoms of shoulder pain, however, it takes 2 weeks of doing these things before your shoulder pain begins to ease. Full recovery from mild shoulder pain can take 4 to 6 weeks.

The NHS set out the following as major dos and don'ts for staying on top of shoulder pain:


  • Stay active and keep moving your shoulder.
  • Try exercises to improve shoulder health and help relieve the pain. Do them for 6 to 8 weeks to prevent future pain.
  • Stand up straight with your shoulders gently back.
  • Try sitting with a cushion behind your lower back.
  • Rest your arm on a cushion when sitting.


  • Do not completely stop using your shoulder as this will delay the recovery period.
  • You should not do things that cause pain or seem to make the pain worse.
  • Do not make up your own strenuous exercise or use heavy gym equipment.
  • When sitting don't slouch, don't roll your shoulders forwards and keep your neck in a neutral position.

Important to note

The above information is not intended to be medical advice tailored specifically for you. The first steps towards dealing with your shoulder pain should be to meet with a medical professional and have your shoulder assessed so you have a proper diagnosis for your pain. The professional in question can then help you with the rehabilitation of your shoulder by creating a personalised rehabilitation programme.