You might have noticed that your elderly loved one seems to have aches and pains on every part of their body. This happens a lot as a person gets older. The truth is that shoulder and back pain are two of the most common complaints among the elderly. Thankfully, most of the time, a person can get treatment to help them with the pains in these areas.

What Can Cause Upper Back and Shoulder Pain?

Elderly Care Hershey PA - Upper Back and Shoulder Pain in Elderly Adults

Elderly Care Hershey PA – Upper Back and Shoulder Pain in Elderly Adults

There are several things that contribute to upper back and shoulder pain in the elderly. Some of these include the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Adhesive capsulitis
  • Rotator cuff issues
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Tendinopathy

Rotator cuff issues don’t only cause pain. These issues can also make it difficult for an elderly adult to move their arm. That is why it is important for your elderly loved one to seek medical attention if the pain is present over a few days.

What is the Rotator Cuff?

A rotator cuff is a part of the shoulder. It helps a person to lift things such as dishes, clothes, and even a toothbrush. The rotator cuff protects your elderly loved one’s shoulder joint. It helps them raise their arms into the air. In addition, when the rotator cuff becomes injured, it can cause extreme pain in the upper back and shoulder area.

What Are Some Back Exercises That Can Help Elderly Adults to Reduce Upper Back and Shoulder Pain?

If you’re an elderly care provider or family caregiver, there are some strengthening exercises you can teach the elderly adult in your life that might help them with their pain. Just remember to speak with their doctor before starting any type of exercise regimen. This will ensure their pain isn’t being caused by an underlying health condition. The doctor might recommend that your elderly loved one receive physical therapy prior to beginning an exercise routine at home. Sometimes, the physical therapist will teach a person some back and shoulder strengthening exercises designed to be done at home once the therapy sessions are over.

Most rotator cuff exercises are low-impact. They start with a slow warm-up that the majority of elderly adults can handle without an extreme amount of effort. At the end of the exercise routine there is usually a stretching and cool down period. Overtime, these types of exercises should help relieve the pain in your loved one’s shoulder and upper back. However, if they continue to have pain it is imperative to seek guidance from their doctor.


The fact is that aches and pains are part of getting older. However, there are exercises and other steps that your elderly loved one can take to help them control their upper back and shoulder pain. They should start by speaking with their doctor to see if exercises might help them with pain relief. After talking to their doctor, they should follow the care treatment plan and exercise, if permitted to do so.


If you or a loved one are considering Elderly Care Services near Hershey PA, contact the caring staff at Extended Family Care of Lancaster. Call today at (717) 205-2174.

Latest posts by Mary Lynne Heller, Branch Administrator (see all)