Sleeper Stretch For Shoulder Pain

Learn A New & Improved Version Of The Sleeper Stretch For Shoulder Pain!

The sleeper stretch is a commonly prescribed exercise for shoulder pain due to stiffness in the back of the shoulder.  However, if done incorrectly, the sleeper stretch can actually cause shoulder pain.

Watch the video below to learn a new & improved version of the sleeper stretch...

6 Simple Solutions For Rotator Cuff & Shoulder Pain More 4 Life Physical Therapy St. Louis MO 63011 Gladly Serving Ballwin, Manchester, Chesterfield, Des Peres, Ellisville, and St. Louis County.

What Is The Sleeper Stretch For Shoulder Pain Used For?

The sleeper stretch for shoulder pain is for people who have:

  1. Pain in the front of their shoulder
  2. Stiffness in the back of the shoulder
  3. Shoulder pain when reaching behind their back

What Are Common Mistakes When Doing The Sleeper Stretch For Shoulder Pain?

Many types of shoulder pain are caused by impingement, meaning pinching of the rotator cuff tendons between the ball of the shoulder and the arch above the shoulder , or between the shoulder and the corocoid process on the front of the shoulder (see pictures below).

Pain when doing the sleeper stretch for shoulder pain can be caused by pinching of rotator cuff tendons under the coracoacromial arch of the shoulder.

Pain when doing the sleeper stretch for shoulder pain can be caused by impingement against the corocoid process of the shoulder blade

The traditional sleeper stretch involves laying on the side of your sore shoulder with your arm at a 90 degree angle to your body and your elbow bent 90 degrees.

You then push your forearm toward the table into a position of shoulder internal rotation.

However, laying directly on a painful shoulder is one of the main complaints of people with shoulder pain, and often causes people difficulty sleeping at night or shoulder pain in the morning.

Furthermore, the position of shoulder internal rotation with the arm at 90 degrees is precisely the position that causes pinching, or impingement, of the rotator cuff tendons.

Therefore, if you already have shoulder pain from a stiff shoulder, doing the traditional version of this exercise can be painful.

A New & Improved Version Of The Sleeper Stretch For Shoulder Pain

Despite the problems mentioned above, the sleeper stretch actually is a good exercise for shoulder pain, but a few modifications can make it better so that you DON'T cause pain while doing it.

Use the tips below to make the sleeper stretch even better:

  1. Lay on the side of you sore shoulder just like the traditional version of the sleeper stretch, but make sure you roll back onto your shoulder blade instead of lying directly on your shoulder.
  2. Use the palm of your non-painful shoulder to push on the ball of the painful shoulder. This helps keep the ball centered in the socket in order to prevent pinching of the rotator cuff tendons while stretching.
  3. Rotate the forearm of your painful arm toward the table and use the elbow of the other arm on the back of your wrist to GENTLY hold it in place.
  4. Don't push too hard, just hold a GENTLE stretch for a long time (ideally 20 minutes or longer, but start with what you can do comfortably).

Make sure to watch the video above for a full demonstration.

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