In our last post on “Shoulder Help For Home”, we reviewed how to rest while home with a painful shoulder. Here, we present some simple activities to help get your shoulder moving again.
If you have had a serious injury to your shoulder, please consult with your medical professional directly before beginning exercises.
It is important to keep the shoulder joint flexible by doing some of the exercises below, as best as you’re able, to prevent contractures (shortening and stiffening of the muscles and tendons).
Keep in mind that you are trying to work with the shoulder in a pain-free manner as much as possible.
Outward rotation: Position your arm as in the image below. Gently rotate your forearm inward toward your belly and outward away from your belly in the pain-free range. This movement should come from the shoulder, not the elbow. Keep your elbow bent at 90 degrees for the entire exercise. Do this for 1-2 minutes, several times a day. If you have no pain, you may add a soup can or one-pound weight. Stay in the pain-free range only.
Outward rotation stretch: Position yourself as depicted, using a stick to assist this outward rotation motion to keep the shoulder joint flexible. While in the stretch position, breath slowly for 4 breaths with an emphasis on the exhale. Keep the elbow bent at 90 degrees to promote motion at the shoulder. Done consistently, this exercise should increase the motion of your shoulder over time.
Arm overhead: With your thumb in an upward position on the injured arm, use your non-affected arm to help raise the injured arm overhead as in the picture below. Try not to arch your back – bending your knees my help with this tendency. Take the shoulder into a pain-free range, if you can. If you have injured your shoulder, however, it may be sore. Just try to relax the arm and do the best you can to increase movement. If it is highly painful, then you may need to slide the supported arm forward on a table instead for a few days, until you can come back to this exercise. Do this for about 10 repetitions, if you can, several times a day.
Strengthening: For most shoulders the activity depicted below is relatively comfortable and safe. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Raise your arm (thumb-up position) as in picture to slightly above 90 degrees (right angle). Then, keeping your arm in same position, make small circular shoulder motions as if drawing a circle on the ceiling. Do this in both clockwise and counterclockwise positions for 1-2 minutes.
Stay in the pain-free range and focus on making perfect circles to help engage the rotator cuff fully. When you start to improve AND can do this with no pain, you may start adding weight to this exercise. Stay with the same weight for 3-5 days or more before adding more weight. Weight should be between one and four pounds. The goal is two minutes of duration, done 1-2 time each day, 3-4 days a week.
If you can do all of these exercises without pain, or only very low soreness, you may be ready for further progressions of exercises to strengthen your shoulder safely.
Currently, we are available and happy to help evaluate and treat your shoulder pain via teletherapy. If you need some extra support and guidance, please give us a call at: 919 932 7266 or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.