230516 Keeping your shoulders flexible and pain free part one

230516 Keeping your shoulders flexible and pain free part one

If you have shoulder pain, and if your doctor has cleared you to exercise that area, here are a few tips that many find to be helpful in alleviating their shoulder discomfort. According to physical therapist (PT) Alex Petruska, a senior PT in the Sports Medicine Center at Harvard affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, the focus in getting pain relief is on three goals:

  1. Increasing your range of motion (ROM)
  2. Strengthening the muscles of the shoulder
  3. Stretching the ligaments and muscles to keep them limber

He goes on to suggest doing the following five exercises, with supervision until you know how to do them correctly.

Behind the back ROM, exercise

  • Begin this with your right hand behind your back. Keep the back of your hand against your lower back or belt.
  • Now reach around with your left hand and gently pull the right hand up towards the left shoulder. Go slowly and be gentle when doing this stretch. Due to the leverages involved, it has a tendency to put a lot of tension on the shoulder.
  • Hold the top position for 10 to 20 seconds at a time. Do the stretch on each side ten to fifteen times before moving onto the next exercise. Stretch only to a point of mild discomfort.

Keep your shoulders flexible with the overhead stretch

Keeping the muscles and tendons of your shoulders flexible, helps make daily activities easier to do. Here is a good, but easy stretch to start your day out with each morning.

If you have difficulties getting down or getting up from the floor, you can do this one in bed or standing. The latter, in my humble opinion, is the best way to do this because you can a larger range of motion.

  • Start out by lying on your back and holding onto a small towel or even better yet, a short piece of elastic material to keep tension on the muscles in the shoulder during the stretch.
  • Your hands should be about shoulder width apart.
  • Begin with your arms straight, hands at the waist, holding onto and attempting to spread the towel or elastic material. Now, in a slow gentle motion raise them up toward the ceiling and lower them back behind your head, still keeping your arms straight.
  • When standing up, try to move your straight arms further behind our head each time. A good gauge of how far you are moving them is to stand with your back to a wall. Step away from the wall a few paces and see if you can still touch it. The farther out you go, the more your ROM will be. Do this stretch without pain.

Shoulder extensions increase the strength of the shoulder muscles that help control the shoulder blade.

  • Stand with your arms straight and your back touching a wall.
  • Push against the wall with your arms while keeping your elbows straight.

Hold the tension for 10 to 15 seconds ten times.

More next week.