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Shoulder Pain: Simple Exercises You Can Do From Your Desk

Sometimes, it can often surprise us how the smallest things in life can actually affect our health. Small things like wearing that heavy bag on the same shoulder every day, or that terrible posture you’ve learnt at work, but so desperately want to get rid of. That’s right everyone… it all adds up. Today I’ll be going over the importance of exercising in the workplace and how it can help your shoulder pain.

The reason why I’m writing about the workplace is because not many people realize how much time you spend at work. For example, the average fulltime worker spends on average every year, 1,650 hours at work. That’s equivalent to 68 days or 9 weeks of day-in-day-out work! Now, imagine if you had an office job, or if you DO, think of all those hours you actually spend sat down, not moving and potentially developing poor posture. It’s no wonder you have shoulder pain! That is why it’s important to exercise at work and to keep moving as much as possible. Having only 5 weeks away from work can take its toll on your body. This truly shows how long you are at work for and how it can affect your health.

With that in mind, here’s a few of my tips that are handy to use to ease that shoulder pain… Yoga before and after work is a MUST to stretch away those potential aches and pains in your muscles. It is ideal to do Yoga on a morning as you have been sleeping in the same position for a while and will continue to do so at work. After work is just as important. Doing Yoga after work will stretch your muscles after being sat for so long! Not only this, but it will leave you feeling a lot calmer and stress-free. If you decided to do Yoga before bed, then this is just as good for you, as it will help you to get to sleep quicker.

Get some fresh air on your lunch break. This is something I keep telling my staff to do! Not only is a change of scenery good for the mind, it gets you up and moving! Even if it’s just a walk to a park bench, it’s better than nothing! If you are luckier than me and have an hour for your lunch break, then why not try and go for a brisk walk. This will ease your muscles further of any pain. If you do decide to do this then I would recommend leaving your bag in the office. My reason for this is that if you carry your bag over your shoulder, you will be putting more pressure on one of your shoulders, which will leave you with more shoulder pain to go back to your desk with! Don’t forget to move around at least once within an hour. I’m not saying you need to sprint to one end of the office and back! It could be as simple as walking to the toilets or even standing up and walking to your colleagues’ desk to see how they are doing. It doesn’t even have to be for very long, as long as you have stood up and had a few steps!

 If your shoulder pain still hasn’t eased during lunch, but the Yoga in the morning worked… then here’s a few exercises that you can try from your desk. Desk Angels – Sounds sweet doesn’t it? Right, so here’s how you do them…

Desk Stretch: 1. Once you’re sitting straight in your chair, raise your arms straight up, like you’re trying to touch the ceiling. 2. Now keep your body still, (it will be harder than you anticipate!) and move your arms together, back and forth. You’ll notice the stretch, pull in your mid back when you move your arms behind your head. 3. Now repeat this 10 times.

Shoulder Rolls: This one is probably the most common out of the exercises. 1. Keep your back straight and your chin tucked in. 2. Roll your shoulders forwards 10 times, and then repeat backwards. Armpit Stretch – This one is probably the most difficult, in the sense that it’s difficult to feel the stretch. When you do though, you’ll know! This exercise targets the muscle near your shoulder blade. I also advise that it might be best to do this one when you’re on your own in the office, as you might look like you’re sniffing your armpit! So here it is…

“Armpit” Stretch: 1. Sit with your back straight and rotate your head sideways so that your nose is directly above your armpit. 2. Hold your head with your hand and gently use it to push your nose closer to your armpit. 3. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat twice on each side. Like I said before, it might be best to do this one when everyone has gone for lunch, so you’re on your own.

So, quick summary! Now you know how long you actually spend at work and potentially in an office chair, it’s clear to see the importance of exercise in the workplace. Shoulder pain can often come from poor posture in the workplace. So remember – the hours you work build up and so does the pressure and pain in your shoulders! If you have or are about to retire, then these exercises can still be done at home and I would still recommend using these tips to ease any shoulder pain that you may have. So give these tips a try and start to feel the benefits quicker!

The author, Jennifer Penrose, is a Physical Therapist and owner of Penrose Physical Therapy. If you have any questions about neck and shoulder pain or headaches, you can call on (360) 456-1444 or email


Jennifer Penrose

Penrose Physical Therapy

"Leading Experts Helping People Become More Active and Mobile, Reduce Stress and Achieve Longevity… So They Can Enjoy Great Health For Years to Come!"

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