300516 Keeping your shoulders flexible and pain free part two

300516 Keeping your shoulders flexible and pain free part two

A brief reintroduction to keeping your shoulders pain free continued from last week, just in case you may have missed it during your busy day.

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

Standing shoulder stretch

Carefully do this exercise, because due to the leverages involved, it can to put a lot of tension on the shoulder.

  • Start out either standing or sitting with one hand holding onto the top its opposite shoulder. For instance, if you were starting to stretch your right shoulder, your right hand would be on the top of your left shoulder.
  • Hold the arm of the stretched shoulder parallel to the floor with the hand touching the opposite shoulder, take the other hand, and gently push the elbow towards the stretched shoulder. You will feel an immediate stretch in the shoulder of the bent arm.
  • Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds and release, go to the other side and repeat the sequence 10 times.

Side lying rotations

If you have access to any weights this does not require heavy ones, 1-5 pounds may be enough depending on your strength level. In some cases, contrary to popular opinion, more is not better. This is an external rotation movement. It strengthens one of the four small rotator cuff muscles and you do not need heavy weights while doing so.

  • Lie on your side with one arm bent to 90 degrees, elbow resting on the waist. Some people advise placing a small towel on the waist to keep the elbow up a bit.
  • From this position, slowly, but not glacially slow, raise your hand in a semicircle towards the ceiling. Keep the elbow on the waist during the full movement.
  • Both sides should have the same ROM. If not, work on getting them equal.
  1. Increasing your range of motion (ROM)
  2. Strengthening the muscles of the shoulder
  3. Stretching the ligaments and muscles to keep them limber

Wall walks stretch the muscles and tendons thereby helping to keep them limber.

  • From a short distance away from the wall, face it either sitting or standing. Standing may be a better option.
  • With both hands on the wall in front of you, use your fingertips to walk up the wall. The closer you get to the wall the more difficult this becomes.
  • Go as high as you can and hold for 10-15 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Another way to do this is to stand, either facing, or with your back to the wall.

  • With your straight arms next to your hips move your arms in a semicircle up over your head. Maintain constant contact with the wall during this motion.
  • Go as far up as possible, hold the top position for 10-15 seconds, and then lower your arms back down and start over.
  • Do this 10-15 times.

Now it is up to you to help protect your shoulders by doing some of these exercises several times a week until they feel stronger and pain free.