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Exercises for Shoulder Flexibility: Back Scratch

Man doing back scratcher shoulder exercise.

Improving your flexibility can reduce pain. Stretching exercises also can help increase your range of pain-free motion. Breathe normally when you exercise. Try to use smooth, fluid movements. Never force a stretch.

Note: Follow any special instructions you are given. If you feel pain, stop the exercise. If the pain continues after stopping, call your healthcare provider.

  • Stand straight, placing the back of your hand on the side you want to stretch flat against your lower back.

  • Throw one end of a towel over your shoulder. Grab it behind your back with your other hand.

  • Pull down gently on the towel with your front arm. Let your back arm slide up as high as is comfortable. You’ll feel a stretch in your shoulder. Hold the stretch for a few seconds.

  • Repeat 3 to 5 times. Build up to holding each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.

For your safety, check with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bellendir, Trina, MSPT, CLT
Online Medical Reviewer: Image reviewed by StayWell medical illustration team.
Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph, Thomas N., MD
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2018
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