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One of my students recently asked about how to manage a flare-up of shoulder tendonitis. This is a good question! The shoulder is a large, mobile joint. When it is strong, this is great, because it gives a tremendous range of motion.

When injuries like tendonitis strike, however, this strength becomes a weakness, as the mobility and complexity of the shoulder — and the amount we use it — can make it difficult to heal.

Here’s how you can heal shoulder tendonitis, so you can get back to moving — and practicing yoga — as soon as possible!


The first and most important thing you can do is rest. We put so much pressure on ourselves to keep moving, keep achieving — rest really is best. This means slowing down and listening to your body, taking extra care to avoid lifting, pushing or pulling heavy items, which is quite painful if you have tendonitis in your shoulder.

Heat & ice

Another simple but proven intervention is to use ice to reduce inflammation and swelling, and heat to relax the shoulder, allowing it to begin to heal. Never apply hot or cold directly to your skin, though.

Strengthening moves

When I pulled my shoulder, I was given some simple exercises to begin healing the area. Using a sport band to do vertical and lateral pulls is a great strengthening exercise. Modified push-ups, on your hands and knees, are another move you can add once the healing has started. Be cautious, though, and consult with a medical professional before starting any new exercises.

Vary your movements

Repetitive strain of any sort will prolong the healing process. Avoid spending too long sitting, standing, typing or doing anything in a repeated motion. Move your whole body every day and try to avoid anything that might lead to compensation injuries.

For more, read the NHS tips on managing tendonitis.