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HomeAnswersPhysiotherapymuscle weaknessI feel pain and stiffness if I try and keep my hand upwards. Are my shoulder muscles weaker?

Why do I have a sensation of fatigue and pain in my shoulder muscles?


The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Answered by

Mohammed Wajid

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At June 18, 2022
Reviewed AtJuly 18, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

From many years I have realized that my shoulder muscles are weaker than an average person's, and I cannot keep my hand upwards for a long time because I feel pain and stiffness there. According to my family, I have inherited this from my father. So I am quite worried about this.

Answered by Mohammed Wajid


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I can understand your tension about the weak shoulder. You can get stronger shoulder muscles with few exercises and a healthy diet.

1) Flexion and Extension- Flex and extend the elbow on the injured side by gently bringing the palm of your hand up to the shoulder. Be sure to bend the elbow as much as possible. Then straighten your arm and elbow. Complete 15 repetitions, rest and then complete another set of 15 repetitions.

2) Single shoulder flexion- Begin by standing with your arms at your side. Keeping the injured arm straight, raise it forward and up until it points to the ceiling. Hold for about five seconds and then return to the starting position. Complete another set with 8 to 12 raises, holding each raise for five seconds.

3) Bicep stretch- Face a wall, standing about six inches away. With your palm down, raise the arm on your injured side and touch the thumb side of your hand to the wall. Make sure your arm is straight, and then turn your body away from your raised arm until you feel a stretch in the biceps. Hold this stretch for about 15 seconds. Rest, and then complete two more repetitions.

4) Bicep curl- Hold a light weight of about 5 to 8 pounds, a hammer, or a can of soup in hand on your injured side. Stand up straight, keeping your elbow against the side of your body. Bring your palm up toward your shoulder, bending the elbow but keeping it in the same place. Pause, and then slowly return to the starting position. Complete 8 to 12 repetitions. Rest, and then complete another set. If this exercise is too easy, try raising your weight. The biceps tendon connects the biceps muscle to two bones in the shoulder and one bone in the elbow.

5) Scapular squeeze- While sitting or standing with your arms by your sides, squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for five seconds. Do two sets of 15 repetitions. Relax your shoulders. Stand and lean over slightly, allowing the affected arm to hang down. Swing the arm in a small circle, about a foot in diameter. Perform ten revolutions in each direction once a day. As your symptoms improve, increase the diameter of your swing, but never force it. When you are ready for more, increase the stretch by holding a light weight (three to five pounds) in the swinging arm.

6)Towel Stretch- Hold one end of a three-foot-long towel behind your back and grab the opposite end with your other hand. Hold the towel in a horizontal position. Use your good arm to pull the affected arm upward to stretch it. You can also do an advanced version of this exercise with the towel draped over your good shoulder. Hold the bottom of the towel with the affected arm and pull it toward the lower back with the unaffected arm. Do this 10 to 20 times a day.

7) Finger Walk- Face a wall three-quarter of an arm's length away. Reach out and touch the wall at waist level with the fingertips of the affected arm. With your elbow slightly bent, slowly walk your fingers up the wall, spider-like, until you have raised your arm as far as you comfortably can. Your fingers should be doing the work, not your shoulder muscles. Slowly lower the arm with the help of the good arm, if necessary, and repeat. Perform this exercise 10 to 20 times a day.

8) Armpit stretch- Using your good arm, lift the affected arm onto a shelf about breast-high. Gently bend your knees, opening up the armpit. Deepen your knee, bend slightly, gently stretch the armpit, and then straighten. With each knee bend, stretch a little further, but do not force it. Do this 10 to 20 times each day.

Do the above exercises for a week. Also, applying Diclofenac ointment with hot water formentation twice a day to help reduce pain quickly.

These exercises are to be done daily for a month and later contact again after two weeks.

Thank you.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Mohammed Wajid
Mohammed Wajid


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