If you have had a shoulder injury, a focused conditioning exercise program can help you build up the muscles in your shoulder and allow you to get back to your normal activity level safely. Conditioning exercises help reduce pain and gradually strengthen, tone, and improve flexibility and stability in target muscles, improving overall health in the shoulder.
Before beginning an exercise regimen, particularly after an injury, seek professional advice from a physical therapist, or a sports medicine or orthopedic doctor as certain causes of shoulder pain, such as a rotator cuff injury, may require treatment in order to heal properly and to prevent reinjury.
Every individual’s body and needs are unique, meaning treatment can be different among patients, and exercises may need to be tailored to meet your specific rehabilitation goals. A specialist will be able to show you the correct techniques to build and strengthen shoulder muscles and alleviate pain successfully. Depending on the type and degree of your shoulder injury, exercises can be designed to focus on particular areas, such as:
- Strengthening muscles that support the shoulder and help to keep the joint stable
- Improving flexibility to restore range of motion and function in the shoulder
- Reducing pain and inflammation
- Injury prevention
In order to build shoulder muscles safely, exercise should be a gradual process. Any pain experienced during exercise should not be ignored as it can cause further damage to the shoulder. Tightness or minor muscle fatigue are not cause for concern, but if an exercise exacerbates symptoms or causes pain, you should stop and modify or find an alternative exercise.
Types Of Shoulder Exercises
If you have injured your shoulder or suffer with shoulder pain, certain exercises can help your injury heal as well as improve strength and range of motion. They are recommended once the initial swelling has gone down and you no longer feel pain when moving the shoulder. Exercises to gently stretch the shoulders include:
Crossover Arm Stretch
Relax your shoulders and gently pull one arm across the chest as far as possible, holding your upper arm without overstretching or causing pain. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other arm. You should feel a stretch at the back of your shoulders.
Stand in an open doorway with your arms spread, grip each side of the doorway with your hands at shoulder height. Keep your back straight and gently lean through the doorway until you feel a light stretch at the front of your shoulders.
Attach a looped elastic stretch band of comfortable resistance to a door handle or secure object. Hold the other end of the band with your elbow bent and at your side, and keeping your arm close to your body, gently pull your elbow straight back until the elastic tightens, and you feel a stretch at the back of your shoulder and upper back. Slowly return your arm to the start position and repeat 10 times on both sides.
Side-Lying External Rotation
Lie on your right side, and support your head with your right hand. Bend your left arm to a 90-degree angle and rest your elbow on your side/hip. Holding a light dumbbell in your left hand. Keep your elbow against your side and slowly raise the dumbbell towards the ceiling and hold for a few seconds without overstretching. Then, gradually return it to the start position and repeat 10 times on each side.
If you have ongoing shoulder pain that may or may not be the result of trauma, it is important to seek medical attention. Some injuries can get worse over time and may require surgical intervention if conservative treatments are delayed.
Orthopaedic Care For Shoulders in Maryland
If you have shoulder pain or want to build up shoulder muscles safely to prevent injury, talk to the experts at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland. We offer specialized care in many areas, including physical therapy, sports medicine, shoulder joint replacement, and arthroscopic surgery. Our highly trained specialists are experts at diagnosing and treating the full range of shoulder conditions, and our physical therapists offer individualized treatment plans to help patients reach their highest level of independent functioning in a safe way.