Harvard Health Letter

Easy fixes for aching shoulders

Stretching and strengthening your shoulders can help you prevent pain and avoid surgery.

If you have shoulder pain, you're likely to go easy on the joint. But stopping normal activities can make shoulder problems worse. "The muscles and ligaments can start to shorten, your shoulder won't work properly, and you can have more pain," says Alex Petruska, a senior physical therapist at the Sports Medicine Center of Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

Common pain

Your shoulder is made up of the collarbone, upper arm bone, and shoulder blade. Gradual wear and tear on this joint makes older adults vulnerable to arthritis as well as problems with the rotator cuff—the group of tendons that helps you raise and rotate your arm.

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