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Shoulder mobility exercises





The following exercise program is designed for individuals who are suffering from frozen shoulders (adhesive capsulitis) or shoulder pain. These exercises aim to improve shoulder mobility, increase flexibility, and reduce pain.


Please note that it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any exercise program, especially if you have a medical condition.




Shoulder injuries and shoulder pain can affect your day to day functioning massively. As someone who has injured both shoulders and had extensive treatment on them to get them 'normal' again, I use these exercises to help with recovery and also to maintain mobility.


Before starting the exercises, perform 5-10 minutes of gentle aerobic activity, such as walking or cycling, to warm up the muscles and increase blood flow to the shoulders.


After completing the exercises, perform static s


tretches for the shoulders, neck, and upper back to cool down the muscles and improve flexibility.


It's important to maintain proper form and technique during the exercises to avoid further injury. If you experience pain or discomfort, stop the exercise and consult with a healthcare professional.



Please complete the exercises 2-3 x a day and tr


y and perform the number or repetitions recommended. Perform these exercises in a pain-free range of motion.



Shoulder Circles:

  • Stand or sit up straight with arms relaxed by your sides.

  • Slowly lift both shoulders up towards your ears, then roll them back and down in a circular motion.

  • Complete 8-12 circles in each direction.

  • Benefits: Helps improve shoulder mobility and flexibility, and reduces muscle tension.

  • Modification: If you have limited mobility, you can perform smaller circles or start with shoulder shrugs.



Arm Circles:

  • Stand or sit up straight with arms extended to the sides at shoulder level.

  • Slowly rotate both arms forward in circular motions, gradually increasing the size of the circles.

  • After 8-12 circles, reverse the direction and rotate the arms backward.

  • Benefits: Helps improve shoulder joint mobility and flexibility, and activates the shoulder muscles.

  • Modification: If you have shoulder pain,


you can perform smaller circles or use lighter weights.


Arm Swings:


  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms extended to the sides.

  • Swing both arms forward and backward in a controlled manner, keeping your shoulders relaxed.



  • Complete 12-15 swings in each direction.

  • Benefits: Helps improve shoulder mobility, flexibility, and blood circulation to the shoulder muscles.

  • Modification: If you have limited mobility, you can perform smaller swings or start with slower movements.


Internal and External Rotations:



  • Fix the band onto a door knob or similar object. stand sideways so the band will come across your body




External rotation. With a towel rolled up and


placed between your waist and

elbow, keep your shoulder blade down and your wrist neutral.

  • Hold the band in one hand. Slowly pull the theraband across the body outwards.

  • Avoid pain.


Internal Rotation: With the towel rolled and placed at your side, pull the theraband

towards your abdomen. Make sure the band is at the height of your forearm with

your elbow bent to 90 degrees.


Complete 8-12 reps for each direction.

  • Benefits: Helps strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and improve shoulder stability.

  • Modification: If you have weak or painful shoulders, you can use a lighter resistance band or perform smaller movements.




Scapular Retractions:

  • Sit or stand with your arms relaxed by your sides.

  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull them downward, then release.

  • Repeat for 12-15 reps.

  • Benefits: Helps improve scapular stability, posture, and shoulder blade positioning.

  • Modification: If you have difficulty squeezing the shoulder blades together, you can start with smaller movements or perform seated rows with resistance bands.



Pectoral Stretch:

  • Stand in a doorway with your arms bent at 90 degrees and forearms resting against the door frame.

  • Slowly lean forward, feeling a stretch in your chest muscles.

  • Hold for 20-30 seconds.

  • Benefits: Helps stretch the pectoral muscles and improve shoulder mobility.

  • Modification: If you have limited shoulder mobility, you can start with a smaller stretch or perform the stretch with one arm at a time.






Cross-Body Stretch

  • Stand or sit up straight with your shoulders rela


xed.

  • Reach your affected arm across your body, using your other arm to pull it gently towards your opposite shoulder.

  • Hold for 10-15 seconds, and then release.

  • Benefits: The cross-body stretch helps to stretch the muscles of the posterior shoulder, which can become tight in individuals with shoulder pain or adhesive capsulitis. This stretch can improve shoulder mobility and reduce pain.


Wall Crawl

  • Stand facing a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart.

  • Place your fingertips on the wall at shoulder height.

  • Slowly walk your fingers up the wall as hig


h as you can comfortably reach.

  • Hold for 10-15 seconds, and then walk your fingers back down to the starting position.

  • Benefits: The wall crawl exercise helps to stretch the shoulder joint and muscles, improving flexibility and mobility. It also helps to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint, providing stability and support.


Pendulum Stretch

  • Stand next to a table or chair for support and bend at the waist.

  • Let your affected arm hang down towards the ground, keeping it relaxed.

  • Sw


ing your arm gently back and forth like a pendulum, allowing it to move in small circles.

  • Perform 10 circles in each direction, and then switch to the other arm.


Benefits: The pendulum stretch helps to gently mobilize the shoulder joint and improve range of motion. It also promotes blood flow to the area, which can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain

Do not round your back or lock your knees





Warm-up and Cool-down Routines:


  • Before starting the exercises, perform 5-10 minutes of gentle aerobic activity, such as walking or cycling, to warm up the muscles and increase blood flow to the shoulders.

  • After completing the exercises, perform static stretches for the shoulders, neck, and upper back to cool down the muscles and improve flexibility.




References:

  • Wang, T. G., & Chou, W. Y. (2013). Effect of shoulder exercise intervention approaches on shoulder pain, shoulder range of motion, and sleep quality in patients with shoulder pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Physiotherapy, 15(2), 57-63.

  • Kelley, M. J., Shaffer, M. A., Kuhn, J. E., Michener, L. A., Seitz, A. L., & Uhl, T. L. (2013). Shoulder pain and mobility deficits: adhesive capsulitis. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 43(5), A1-A31.

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