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6 Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk To Ease Shoulder Pain

Stress and anxiety can cause upper body stiffness. Try these exercises to ease the stiffness in your shoulder muscles.

By D Tejaswi
02 Sep 2021

Shoulder pains are common and can occur due to a variety of reasons ranging from long hours at a desk, abusing the ‘text neck’ posture to hunching over the keyboard and even sleeping on the wrong pillow. As per British Medical Journal, shoulder pain is the third most common cause of musculoskeletal consultation in primary care. When left untreated shoulder pain causes difficulty in lifting the arm over head, decreases the range of motion, damages the rotator cuff and can also cause headaches. When the neck and shoulder joints are strained, it causes irritation and spasms, resulting in headaches.


Stretching and gentle exercises improve mobility of the arm and help lessen shoulder pain, says the study published in IQWIG (Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care). Vinod Channa, a mumbai-based celebrity fitness trainer shows six easy moves that you can do any time, anywhere. These shoulder-exercises improve flexibility, increase the shoulder’s range of motion, and relax tightness.


1. Latissimus (V-shaped muscles connecting arms to vertebral column) stretch

  • Sit on a chair. Raise the right arm above your headBend your right elbow to place it behind your head
  • With your left hand, grab your right elbow and pull the right elbow down towards the chair
  • Feel a stretch in the backside towards the armpit
  • Hold the position for 45-60 seconds and repeat on the opposite side
  • Do this for 3 reps


2. Latissimus stretch with arm open

  • Sit straight up. Take the right arm you want to stretch and bring it straight over your head
  • Lean to the other side and push your arm up and over like you are pointing to the opposite side of the ceiling
  • Hold the position for 15-30 seconds and repeat on each side 3 times


3. Shoulder shrugs

  • Sit straight. Shrug your shoulders upwards, towards the ceiling
  • Hold the position for two seconds and bring it back to the original position
  • Do this for 10 times and take a break when required


4. Thoracic and cervical spine stretch

  • Sit on a chair and hold a slightly forward pelvic posture.
  • Clasp your hands at the back of your head.
  • Begin by bending the head and shoulders back to let the chest expand.
  • Release the position in 4-5 seconds.
  • Repeat about 10 times and do 3 reps.


5. Standing thoracic and cervical spine stretch

  • Walk up to the wall, extend the hands straight and let the palms rest on the wall.
  • Increase the gap between your legs and wall, and push your tailbone back.
  • Begin by lowering your back and head so that the elbow is in line with your ears.
  • +Release the position and let the back raise a bit higher.
  • Repeat this 10 times.


6. Scapula pulses

  • Sit straight on a chair.
  • Raise the arms above your head and interlock the fingers.
  • Begin by raising the shoulders up and down so that ribs shrink inside.
  • Repeat 10 times.




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