Exercises for Spasming Shoulders

Brunette woman massaging her neck because it hurts
Muscles often spasm on top of the shoulders. (Image: Deagreez/iStock/Getty Images)

If you've ever felt like your shoulder was pulling up toward your ear or felt a bump in the middle of one of your shoulder muscles, you might have had a muscle spasm. Although spasms can develop after injury, they can also be caused by stress and poor posture. Exercises often help relieve tension in spasming shoulders.

Famous pendulum in Pantheon.
Your shoulder mimics a clock pendulum with pendulum exercises. (Image: photoneye/iStock/Getty Images)

Pendulums

Pendulum exercises gently stretch your shoulders in all directions.

Step 1

Stand by a firm surface and bend over at the waist. Use your non-spasming arm to help support your body weight. Dangle your other arm down toward the ground.

Step 2

Move your body to swing your arm forward and backward 10 times. Repeat in a side-to-side motion 10 times.

Step 3

Circle your arm clockwise and counterclockwise 10 times in each direction. Keep your shoulder muscles relaxed throughout these movements.

Step 4

Hold a 1- to 2-pound dumbbell in your hand as your perform pendulums to increase the intensity of the stretch.

Woman receiving shoulder therapy from physiotherapist in clinic
Have a partner gently assist you to increase the intensity of shoulder stretches. (Image: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images)

Cross-Body Stretch

The cross-body stretch targets spasming muscles in the back of your shoulder.

Step 1

Reach across your body and place your hand on your opposite shoulder. Use your other hand and gently pull your elbow further across your body until you feel a stretch in the back of your shoulder.

Step 2

Hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Relax, and repeat three times.

Young man in pilot uniform standing against gray background
Stretch spasming muscles several times throughout your workday. (Image: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images)

Hands Behind Back

Stretching with your hands behind your back helps relax spasming muscles in the front of your shoulder.

Step 1

Stand up straight and maintain this position throughout the exercise. Reach both arms behind your back and interlock your fingers.

Step 2

Slowly squeeze your shoulder blades together until you feel a stretch in the front of your shoulders.

Step 3

Hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat three times.

Ignorance and arrogance. Closeup portrait young man shrugging shoulders who cares so what I don't know gesture isolated on gray wall background. Human body language. Whatever attitude reaction
Tightening and relaxing spasming muscles helps them relax. (Image: SIphotography/iStock/Getty Images)

Shoulder Shrugs

Tightening and relaxing muscles helps reduce spasms. Shrugs help relax muscles on the top of your shoulders.

Step 1

Sit or stand up straight. Shrug your shoulders up to your ears as far as possible.

Step 2

Hold the shrug for up to 10 seconds, then completely relax your shoulder muscles. Repeat three times.

Shoulder Rolls

Shoulder rolls can be performed right at your desk or while you watch t.v.

Step 1

Sit up straight. Keeping your arms relaxed by your sides, slowly roll your shoulders forward 10 times. Make the circles as big as possible.

Step 2

Perform 10 shoulder rolls in the opposite direction.

Tennis ball
Use a tennis ball to treat shoulder spasms. (Image: Steven Pike/Hemera/Getty Images)

Trigger Point Massage

Muscles spasms often have trigger points -- particularly tight parts of the muscle that feel rock-hard. Use a tennis ball to treat trigger points.

Step 1

Roll the tennis ball on your shoulder until you find a trigger point. Hold the ball in place with firm pressure for 30 to 90 seconds. Repeat several times.

Step 2

Treat trigger points in the back of your shoulder by placing the tennis ball on a wall. Lean against the ball and slowly adjust your position until it is on the trigger point. Hold for 30 to 90 seconds and repeat several times.

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