Stretching exercises for a stiff shoulder include the pendulum stretch, cross-body reach and the armpit stretch, according to Harvard Medical School. Showering or bathing with warm water for at least 15 minutes helps reduce tissue soreness when performing stretches, suggests the University of Washington Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine.
Patients must perform shoulder stretches at least three times each day, claims Harvard Medical School. Setting daily range of motion goals helps patients achieve long-term, positive results. Patients typically experience a reduction in shoulder pain after stretching regularly for at least six weeks. Exercise equipment, such as free weights or tension bands, are not required to perform stiff shoulder stretches, so patients can stretch at home, work or when traveling.
When performing stretches, patients must achieve adequate tension in the soft tissue, but not to the point of pain, reports the University of Washington Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. If pain occurs, patients must continue stretching the soft tissue, but should reduce the range of motion, states Harvard Medical School.
In addition to performing shoulder stretches, patients must perform aerobic exercises such as walking or riding a stationary bike for 30 minutes each day, suggests Harvard Medical School. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin, when used in conjunction with daily stretching exercises, temporarily reduce pain.