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5 Easy Shoulder Mobility Exercises You Can Do With a Broomstick!

Shoulder ‘stiffness’ is a common complaint from patients, and can be attributed to a number of underlying conditions. The good news is, that most shoulder complaints will benefit from some mobility exercises to improve pain-free range of motion. Here are 5 shoulder mobility exercises I find helpful for my patients, and the only equipment you need is a broomstick (or rake, mop, PVC pipe etc).

1. Shoulder Flexion

Hold the stick in both hands with your knuckles facing forwards. Gradually raise both arms up whilst keep the elbows straight. You can use your good arm to assist in elevating the injured/painful shoulder. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

2. Shoulder Extension

Hold the stick behind your back, again with your knuckles facing forwards. Slowly elevate the stick away from your back and hold this position for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

3. Shoulder Abduction/Adduction

Hold the stick in both hands with your palms facing fowards. Keeping your elbows straight, use your good arm to elevate your injured shoulder up past 90 degrees if possible. Hold this position for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

4. Shoulder Internal Rotation

Hold the stick with both hands behind your back, with your uninjured shoulder behind your head, and your injured shoulder behind your back at waist-level. Move the stick up and down by bending at the elbows, with your uninjured arm (at the top) assisting the injured shoulder through gradual movements. Hold the elevated position for 5 seconds, repeating 10 times.

5. Shoulder External Rotation

This exercise is easiest performed lying on your back. Hold the stick in both hands with your palms facing upwards, and your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Ensure the back of your upper arms are resting against the floor. Use your good arm to swing your injured arm away from your body, whilst keeping the elbow of the injured arm by your side. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

These exercises are meant only as a guide, and should not replace proper consultation with your health practitioner. For some people, these exercises may not be appropriate, and could cause further irritation if performed incorrectly. If you are unsure as to the appropriate course of treatment for your shoulder pain, feel free to contact the clinic to book a chiropractic consultation with me.

2 Simple Exercises to Keep Your Shoulders Strong and Pain-Free

Following on from our blog last week on subacromial bursitis and shoulder impingement, I thought it would be useful to provide some information on two exercises I have found to be very helpful for my patients with various forms of shoulder pain.

Stretches are beneficial to keep soft tissue structures flexible, but strengthening is really the key to enabling the shoulder to move correctly and be stabilised. Strengthening increases the capacity of the muscles to perform the tasks we demand of them, in a pain-free manner.

 

1. Resisted External Rotation

This is an excellent and very popular exercise to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles, and will generally form part of the initial rehabilitation phase in most clinics.

With your elbows by your side at 90 degrees, hold a length or resistance band between both hands. Keep one arm still as an anchor point, and slowly rotate the opposite arm away from your body. Alternatively, you can tie the band onto a pole or hook. It is important to keep your elbow up tight against your body with the movement, to ensure the rotator cuff muscles are doing the work and not the torso trying to help out. Also ensure that the wrist stays straight, as it too can try to compensate for a weakness in the rotator cuff. The body will look for ways to cheat and avoid using the shoulder if it is painful, so keep an eye on your form!

2. Seated Rows

This exercise helps to strengthen the muscles of the upper back that help support the scapula(shoulder blade). The scapula forms the base of support from which the upper limb operates, so it important that we have a strong, stable foundation here. Issues with scapular control and stability, can often have a significant flow-on effect down the chain.

It is best to start with this exercises in a seated position, with your arms slightly elevated out to your sides. With the resistance band in each hand, have it looped around a pole or a hook in front of you. Focus on squeezing the shoulder blades together in the middle of your back, without shrugging your shoulders. Try to focus most of the strength and movement at the shoulder blades, and not the arms/elbows. Also, be careful not to jut the neck/chin forward!

 

These exercises are meant as a guide only. It is recommended that you consult with your usual healthcare practitioner prior to commencing exercises, to rule out any contraindications or underlying pathology that may need to be addressed.