How to Relieve Shoulder Pain When Lifting Arm

shoulder pain when lift arm

If you find that your arm cannot be lifted up, you feel that your shoulders are "stuck"; or when you raise your arm to 60 degrees, you suddenly feel that your shoulders hurt, you can’t lift the arm up anymore. Sometimes, the pain in the shoulder even makes you unable to sleep or can’t sleep on the shoulder of the affected side. We found that many people do not know what to do when they have shoulder pain, so today we will help you make a simple judgment about your shoulder pain and help you relieve the pain in this article.

First of all, let's take a look at the structures and muscles around the shoulder joint to help you understand where your pain occurred.

The shoulder joint is composed of the glenoid of the scapula and the humeral head of the humerus. Around the shoulder joint there is a circle of rotator cuff muscles that are very important for the stability of the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff muscles are composed of the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor.

Part 1. How to Check Yourself for the Cause of Shoulder Pain

Above all, do the following two actions:

1. Relax and let your arms hang down naturally, then slowly lift your arms forward until your arms are fully lifted and parallel to your body.

2. Do the same thing, but without using your own arm, and let someone else help you lift your arm fully.

After doing these two actions, you may have two situations: one is that there will be pain after doing both actions, and the other is that it will hurt when lifting your arm on your own, but you will not feel pain when others help you do it.

  • If your shoulder hurts when you do both movements, there may be a problem with the joint or the ductility of the soft tissue is not enough.
  • If your shoulder hurts when lifting your arm on your own, but you will not feel pain when others help you do it. There is no problem with your joints, the main reason for the pain is soft tissue damage.

Part 2. How to relieve your shoulder pain

Method 1. Exercises that can help solve soft tissue problem

Bend lightly, hold the dumbbells in both hands and drop your arms naturally, fully relax your shoulders, and swing your arms back and forth and side to side. Doing it for about 20 minutes a day has a significant therapeutic effect on joint contractures.

Method 2. Shoulder stability training

Kneel on the mat, rest your elbows on the Swiss ball, and use your elbows to make circular motions with your shoulders as the center.

Put the ball on the wall, keep your chest up, be careful not to shrug your shoulders, push the ball with your hands, and make small circles.

Method 3. Sleep on your back or on your side with the affected side up

Shoulder pain sufferer are more recommended to sleep on your back. Since the shoulder joints are relatively relaxed when sleeping on your back and it is easy to cover the shoulder joints with clothing in this position to ensure the warmth of the inter-joint joints. Besides, you can also sleep on your side with the affected side up. Both sleeping positions can help relieve your shoulder pain. And remember to pick a suitable pillow, which should not be too high or too low.


This article tells you how to easily identify the cause of shoulder pain when lifting your arm, and how to relieve your shoulder pain. Of course, you need to go to the hospital with the examination of the instrument to know exactly what is causing the pain, especially when your shoulder pain is severe. Hope this article can be helpful to you and wish you a speedy recovery from shoulder pain.