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11 Exercises for The Pain in Your Back, Neck and Shoulder

According to a 2012 Gallup poll, almost half (47%) of American adults suffer some kind of chronic pain. We hurt! If you’re in pain, do something about it. Try these simple, in-home exercises for your bad back, aching neck, or sore shoulder. It might just help.


The simplest way to help out your back is to strengthen the abdominal and back muscles. When these muscles are toned, they act as a natural corset for your spine, providing support and improving posture. These four exercises will help strengthen your core.

1. Wall Slides

Stand with your back against a wall and feet shoulder-width apart. Slide down into a crouch with knees bent. Count to five and slide back up the wall. Repeat 5 times. You’ll feel this one in your legs a bit too.

2. Face-Down Leg Raises

Lie on your stomach. Point your toes out and away to tighten the muscles in one leg; raise it from the floor. Hold your leg up for a count of 10 and return it to the floor. Switch limbs and repeat for 5 sets on each leg.

3. Face-Up Leg Raises

Now flip over and do the same thing! Simple as that.

4. Back Leg Swings

Stand behind a chair with your hands on the back of the chair. Lift one leg back and up while keeping the knee straight. Return slowly. Repeat five times with each leg.


A sore neck often is a weak neck. Try these four resistance exercises to strengthen the muscles that keep your head on your shoulders.

1. Forward Press

Press your palms against your forehead and push your head back while resisting motion with your neck. Hold this position for 5 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times.

2. Side Press

Place your hand against the side of your head. Try to bring to your ear to your shoulder, again resisting the motion with your neck. Switch sides. Hold each position for 5 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times.

3. Back Press

Cup both hands against the back of your head, fingers interlocking. Attempt to push your head back, resisting the motion. (You should be seeing the resistance pattern by now.) Hold this position for 5 seconds and release. You guessed it…repeat 3 times.

4. Rotation Press

Finally, put your right hand against the right temple. Attempt to turn your chin to your right shoulder (like you’re looking from side to side) resisting the motion. Hold for 5 seconds. Switch sides. 3 times. Each side.


Shoulder soreness tends to come from injury or overuse of the tendon in your rotator cuff. Throwing around the softball or swinging your tennis racquet a bit too much could be the cause, but so could simple household duties like painting or gardening. Try these four exercises to stretch and strengthen your ailing shoulder.

1. Pendulum (for range of motion and flexibility)

Stand up and lean forward, bending at the waste, until you’re as close to 90 degrees as possible. Dangle your sore arm straight down and begin to draw invisible circles on the floor with that arm. The motion should come from your shoulder, not your wrist. Start with small circles and gradually increase to big ones. Keep going for a minute, then rest for a minute. Do it five times.

2. Shoulder Shrug (for strength to prevent further injury)

Stand with both arms at your side. Keeping your hand in line with your shoulders. Now shrug your shoulders upward and backward and try to touch your ears with your shoulder. Keep your neck still, your elbows straight and do not move your arms or hands. Do 10 shrugs. Take a break. Do it again. Do it a third time. You can even try adding dumbbells for an extra challenge.

3. Across The Chest

Stand or sit–it doesn’t matter. Take your unaffected arm and grab under the elbow of the affected arm. Pull the dud arm gently across your chest until you feel that stretch in the shoulder muscles. Just until you feel it, not until it hurts. Hold it for ten seconds and then slowly relax. Do it three more times.

If you’re in pain, remember, you don’t have to take it! Start improving your quality of life today.

1 Comment to “11 Exercises for The Pain in Your Back, Neck and Shoulder”

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Advanced Physical Medicine is a multi-disciplinary wellness clinic that offers pain management and rehabilitation to patients in Chicagoland and beyond. When it comes to healthcare, APM utilizes a variety of different specialists including medical doctors, podiatrists, physical therapists, chiropractors and neurosurgeons to make joint decisions regarding the best treatment for you. Each treatment plan is tailored specifically according to your needs. You see, at APM, we treat you as a person, and we are always happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today and experience the difference with APM. We look forward to talking to you.