The shoulder is one of the most commonly injured areas of the body. Rotator cuff injuries, shoulder impingements, and adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) are just a few of the many injuries that can occur at this complex joint. The shoulder joint consists of several bones, many muscles and their associated tendons, multiple ligaments, bursa, and a joint capsule. Injury to any one of these structures can cause significant pain and subsequent dysfunction of the shoulder. Over time, this can lead to chronic pain and limited use of the arm.
Whether you’ve had a shoulder injury in the past, or you’ve recently endured a shoulder injury, there are things you can do to help improve functioning of your arm and prevent permanent damage to the joint. It is very important to maintain the range of motion of the shoulder complex. This includes the shoulder joint and the shoulder blade. It is vital to include stretches and exercises that involve increasing the mobility and strength of the shoulder blade muscles, as well as the shoulder joint, to maximize function. The shoulder blade provides 1/3 of the total motion of the shoulder joint. Failure to address shoulder blade range of motion and strength can result in prolonged pain and activity limitations.
Listed below are several basic stretches and exercises to increase the range of motion and strength of the entire shoulder complex. If you are currently suffering from shoulder pain or dysfunction, come see a therapist at Functional Performance Center today (call us to schedule), for a full examination and personalized exercise program! Shoulder pain does not have to be permanent!
Forward Flexion with a Stick
Start with your thumb on the end of the stick, with the same foot forward. Shift your weight onto the front foot and use your bottom arm to push the forward arm up to your ear, keeping your elbow straight. Return to starting position, repeat 15-20 times, then switch sides. Perform 2-3 sets per side. This will help to improve shoulder mobility and shoulder blade rhythm.
Standing in doorway, put arm on frame at shoulder height, with same foot forward. Shift weight forward, driving chest straight ahead, until you feel a stretch through the front of the shoulder and chest. Return to starting position, repeat 15-20 times, then switch to other side. Perform 2-3 sets per side. This will help to improve muscle length in the front of the arm and allow more mobility for the shoulder and shoulder blade.
Scapular Retraction with Resistance Band
Start with arm fully forward, with your thumb facing down and the opposite foot forward. Shift your weight back, pulling the band back to armpit, your thumb should end facing up. Return to starting position, repeat 15-20 times, then switch sides. Perform 2-3 sets per side. Make sure to let arm go fully forward and fully back to maximize benefits of exercise. This will help strengthen the shoulder and shoulder blade muscles.