Exercises to Reduce Your Shoulder Impingement Effectively


shoulder impingement

Common causes of shoulder pain in shoulder impingement

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball is called the humeral head and the socket is called the glenoid fossa. A layer of joint fluid cushions the shoulder and allows it to move freely.

Shoulder impingement occurs when the rotator cuff tendons and bursa rub against the undersurface of the acromion (bony bump) of the scapula. This can cause pain and possibly some loss of motion. Did you know that shoulder impingement is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain?

In fact, the majority of shoulder pain patients we treat have signs of impingement due to their daily activities.

Sam had been suffering from a shoulder impingement for a while. By the time he came to the clinic for treatment, he was in a lot of pain and couldn't move his arm without great discomfort. The doctor prescribed a 2-week regimen of massage therapy. This was meant to break up scar tissue and to improve his range of motion. After a few weeks, he felt better and enjoyed a lot more mobility. He shared that it was a great experience and that he would definitely return to seek help earlier if he ever had the need to again.

In today’s post you will learn what causes shoulder impingement so that you can recognize the signs that suggest you have it, and we’ll also share exercises to help you effectively reduce it!

1. Pec/ Doorway Stretch

shoulder impingement

Have you ever felt your chest muscles so tight that they pull your shoulder joint into a forward and downward position? This position decreases the space between the bones in your shoulder joint and causes more shoulder impingement. By stretching out the chest muscles you can reduce the tension on your shoulder which will create more room for those tendons to move around.

By following this simple guide, you'll be able to get back some of your lost flexibility in your shoulders:

  • stand in the doorway with your feet facing outwards

  • keep your feet on the ground and your back straight

  • put your hands on the sides of the door frames so that your elbows are slightly bent

  • push your elbows back while keeping your arms straight

  • pull your shoulders back.

2. Wall Angel

shoulder impingement

We often find that patients are unable to raise their arms over their head without compromising their neck and upper back posture. Try this exercise to help you learn to keep an upright spine AND raise your arms overhead. This creates free movement of the shoulder blade and decreases impingement.

Wall Angel Exercise is a great way to tone up your shoulders. All you have to do is:

  • stand against the wall, with your arms at your side

  • make sure your muscles are relaxed

  • put your hands on the wall slightly above your shoulders, with your fingers pointing forward

  • as you inhale, raise your arms up the wall, as you exhale, bring them back down

  • you can do 10 repetitions of this exercise.

3. Foam Roller Stretch

shoulder impingement

This exercise combines both a pec stretch AND practicing getting your arms overhead while maintaining an upright posture. It can feel a bit easier than a wall angel because you are laying on your back!

How to do this exercise:

  • lay a foam roller on the floor

  • place your hand lightly on the foam roller at eye level, then place your arm overhead

  • place the opposite arm next to the first arm

  • roll both arms on the foam roller.

4. Arm Circles

shoulder impingement

Arm circles is a great exercise to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder, as well as the muscles that keep the shoulder stable.

It's simple, it's easy, it's cheap, and it's extremely effective. All you have to do is:

  • start with your arms at your sides

  • move your arms forward in a circular motion, allowing your arms to rise up above your head

  • repeat 20 times.

Make sure to move your arms forward in a circular motion, allowing your arms to rise up above your head and not out to the sides.


5. Push-ups

shoulder impingement

Push ups can decrease the stress on the shoulder joints, particularly the rotator cuff. When you do push ups, the shoulder blades should be squeezed together. Also, they should be kept as close together as possible while you lower yourself. To get more information, please visit our blog on shoulder pain.

Get on the floor and position your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet about 2 feet behind your hands:

  • lower your body and touch the floor, then push yourself back up again

  • repeat 20 times.

Key Benefits of performing these suggested exercises


You're probably familiar with and accept the benefits of exercise in general. You may even have heard people say that exercise is good for your health. But have you heard about exercise specifically for shoulder impingement? As you may now understand, this type of Injury occurs from overuse of the rotator cuff. While symptoms are varied, there are key signs that you may be suffering from shoulder impingement. Fortunately, exercise is one of the best ways to treat this problem.


These exercises can help you to:

  • strengthen the upper body

  • improve posture

  • boost flexibility

  • improve overall health and fitness.

Remember, you are not alone - not with this problem nor the decisions about shoulder impingement and the right treatment for you to get on the road to your recovery.

If you’re experiencing pain or stress, do reach out and call us directly at 250-897-0069 or BOOK ONLINE conveniently. If you wish, you can also reach us via our easy CONTACT US page to request help with services or booking. We are here and ready to help you.


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