Shoulder stiffness is a common issue experienced by individuals of various backgrounds and lifestyles. For many, including Muslim women who wear traditional attire such as hijab or abaya, shoulder stiffness can be exacerbated due to the specific physical demands and constraints of their clothing. However, through targeted stretches, strengthening exercises, and the therapeutic benefits of massage, relief and prevention are achievable.

Understanding Shoulder Stiffness

Shoulder stiffness can arise from multiple factors, including muscular tension, joint immobility, inflammation, and modern habits like excessive mobile phone usage. The wearing of hijab or abaya by Muslim women may contribute to prolonged periods of shoulder elevation or restricted arm movements, leading to muscle tightness and discomfort. Additionally, the repetitive nature of daily activities and poor posture induced by prolonged mobile phone use can further strain the shoulder muscles and joints.

3 Stretches for Shoulder Stiffness Relief

  1. Shoulder Rolls

Roll your shoulders backward in a circular motion, aiming for 10 rotations. Repeat in the forward direction to loosen up the shoulder joints.

2. Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

Bring one arm across your body at shoulder height and gently pull it closer to your chest. Hold for 15-30 seconds and switch sides.

3. Overhead Shoulder Stretch

Reach one arm overhead and bend the elbow, allowing your hand to rest behind your upper back. Use the opposite hand to gently press on the bent elbow, feeling a stretch along the side of the shoulder.

3 Exercises to Strengthen the Shoulders

  1. Shoulder Blade Squeezes

Squeeze your shoulder blades together as if you’re trying to hold a pencil between them. Hold for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

2. External Rotation with Resistance Band

Rotate your forearm outward against the resistance of a band. Perform 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side.

3. Wall Push-Ups

Stand facing a wall with your arms extended at shoulder height and palms flat against the wall. Perform 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Massage for Shoulder Stiffness Relief

Massage therapy can complement stretches and exercises by relieving muscle tension and promoting relaxation. Techniques such as Swedish massage, shiatsu massage, deep tissue massage, and trigger point therapy can target specific areas of shoulder stiffness and discomfort. Massage improves blood circulation, reduces inflammation, and enhances joint mobility, facilitating the healing process.

Why Shoulder Stiffness is Common Among Muslim Women

Muslim women who wear hijab or abaya may experience shoulder stiffness due to the constant weight and pressure exerted by these garments. The added weight and restrictive nature of traditional attire, along with modern habits like excessive mobile phone usage, can contribute to poor posture, muscle strain, and limited range of motion.


Shoulder stiffness can significantly impact daily activities and quality of life. By incorporating stretches, exercises, and massage therapy into a regular routine, individuals, including Muslim women, can alleviate stiffness, improve mobility, and prevent future discomfort. Understanding the unique challenges posed by traditional attire and modern habits is essential in developing effective strategies for managing and preventing shoulder stiffness in this demographic. With patience, consistency, and proper self-care, achieving relief from shoulder stiffness is attainable for everyone.

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