Shoulder pain affects up to 26% of the population, and may be attributed to a number of causes. Sharp pain in your shoulders can cause persistent stiffness and loss of range of motion, making it difficult for you to perform the smallest of movements.
Experiencing shoulder pain? Here’s what you can do.
Sitting Triceps Stretch
This is a simple exercise you can do to stretch your upper limb muscles (triceps). Sit on a flat surface keeping your knees and feet aligned with your hips. Now gently reach behind with one hand to touch your shoulder blade. With the other hand, touch the top of your elbow to tenderly pull it straight back.
Make sure that the hand holding your shoulder doesn’t move inward, that your head is lifted upwards, and that you’re sitting up straight. You may also repeat the exercise if the mobility of that shoulder is affected as well. This simple exercise will promote flexibility of your triceps and provide relief to your upper back as well as your shoulders.
Active Shoulder External Rotation
This exercise is meant to be done lying down and is particularly helpful in regaining range of motion. Lie on your side and gradually raise your arm towards the ceiling. During this motion, keep your elbow bent so that the movement of your arm is caused by the rotation of the shoulder. Your elbow should be pointing towards the ceiling as you raise your arm higher.
Once the shoulder has rotated fully, hold your arm in that position for a couple of seconds before returning back to the original position you started from. Repeating this exercise will help you improve your shoulder’s range of motion faster.
Wall Angle Exercise
A basic wall angle exercise can be quite effective in restoring shoulder mobility too. To do this, stand with your back against the wall and your arms stretched out against it, at a 90-degree angle. Your focus should be on the movement of your shoulder blades, while making sure that the spine and ribs remain relaxed.
Slowly raise your arms against the wall such that they’re above your head. As you do this, try to keep your wrists and elbows in as close proximity to each other as you can. Now lower your arms back to the 90-degree angle position you started off with. Repeat this exercise for a few minutes, after which you may also add some sort of resistance (for e.g. light cables) to take it up a notch. This movement helps your trapezius muscles as well as your rotator cuff muscles.
While these exercises are typically harmless and help improve range of motion, for someone recovering from a shoulder injury or surgery, they can be dangerous if done unsupervised. This is why you must always consult your physical therapist before starting an exercise so that they can better guide you about what’s best for your body.
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