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Shoulder Pain Exercise for Improved Function

by Cindy Gray

An achy shoulder can be debilitating, impairing the simplest of tasks.  One commonly affected area is the rotator cuff, the part of the shoulder responsible for circular motion.  People experiencing pain in the rotator cuff will usually feel it in the front or outside shoulder, and pain worsens when lifting or raising the arm.  Nighttime pain is common, and it may interfere with sleep.

Shoulder pain exercise helps eliminate pain and restore function

What can I do to relieve shoulder pain?

While applying ice and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) help provide temporary relief, shoulder pain exercise offers the best option for restoring permanent, pain-free function.

Like an angel's wings, shoulder blades should lie flat against the back, at rest or at work.  Yet, many people tend to shrug shoulder blades forward while sitting, driving, or working on a computer.  When it becomes second nature, this posture weakens the shoulder joint and may lead to dowager's hump down the road by strengthening the curve in the upper back.

Angelic Shoulder Pain Exercise

To restore proper shoulder posture, imagine sliding the tips of angel wings down and deep into the back.  To make your body follow suit, stand up straight, bend arms at a 90-degree angle with the elbows close to the body, and turn palms up (skyward).  Keeping them close to the body, move the elbows back (shoulder blades will feel firm against the back).  Allow the forearms to drop to your side, and maintain the posture.  Getting into the habit of assuming this posture throughout the day ─ while sitting or standing ─ helps keep shoulder and back pain at bay. Tip:  Instead of a 10 and 2 o'clock position while driving, try positioning hands, palms up, at 7 and 5 o'clock for better angel wing posture.

Related: How Exercise Helps Fight Stress

More Shoulder Pain Exercise Options

For another easy shoulder pain exercise, try leaning over and facing the floor, allowing arms to dangle.  Starting small and getting larger, draw circles in the air with the affected arm.  Repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times per day, but always stop if you experience pain.

People also make use of rubber tubing to exercise the shoulder.  Stand next to a closed door with the affected shoulder nearest the door.  Loop the rubber tubing around the knob, and bend the arm at a 90-degree angle.  Holding the tubing, pull the band across the abdomen, doing one set of 10 repetitions.  Do this exercise daily, and as shoulder pain diminishes, increase the number of sets.

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