Thursday, December 27, 2012

Article # 156. How to Strengthen and Heal the Shoulder



How to Strengthen and Heal the Shoulder

Underneath the deltoid muscle lies a bony protrusion, tendons, nerves, tiny muscles, ligaments and cushioning pillows. An injury to any of these structures can decrease the function of the surrounding tissue, reducing the range of motion you have to your shoulder joint and weakening your shoulder muscles. It is essential that you refrain from any activity that aggravates your injury and that you follow the rehab program prescribed by your physical therapist.

Step 1
Place a heated gel pack on your shoulder for 10 minutes to increase blood circulation and the tissue temperature of the structures composing your shoulder. This enhances the flexibility of your muscles, tendons and ligaments so it is less painful to stretch and strengthen your shoulder.

Step 2
Stand next to a massage table with your uninjured side adjacent to the table for a pendulum stretch. Place your legs in a lunge position, bending forward from your trunk and resting your uninjured forearm on the table. Your injured arm should be dangling by your side. Shift your body weight between your back leg and your forward leg so your arm swings like a pendulum, stretching your shoulders. Complete three reps of 30 seconds, standing up for 15 seconds between each rep.


Step 3
Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and lean your trunk forward to rest your uninjured forearm on the table. Your injured arm should be dangling in front of you. Shift your body weight between your feet, moving your hips in a circular direction so your arm swings left to right in front of you. Complete three reps of 30 seconds.

Step 4
Grab a pair of 2- to 3-pound dumbbells, standing with your feet close together and your knees slightly bent. Raise both dumbbells in front of you until your arms are parallel to the floor, keeping your palms faced down. Hold the contraction for three seconds then lower your arms back toward your thighs. Raise the dumbbells out to your sides until your arms are parallel to the floor, keeping your palms face down. Hold the contraction for three seconds and lower your arms back toward your thighs. Repeat the exercise for 15 repetitions in both directions.


Step 5
Stand with your feet close together and your knees slightly bent, holding a 2-pound dumbbell in your right hand. Draw an arc from your right thigh out to your right side and up over your head, rotating your palm so it is face up as you approach your head. Lower the dumbbell back down to your side and repeat for 15 repetitions.

Step 6
Continue to alternate between the dumbbell raise exercise and the arc exercise for two more sets, strengthening your shoulder.

Step 7
Stretch your shoulders again after your strengthening exercises by standing underneath a doorway. Place your palms flat on the borders of the doorway with your elbows lower than your shoulders. Then step through the doorway, holding the stretch for 10 seconds. Raise your arms so your elbows are the level of your shoulders and step through the doorway, holding the stretch for 10 seconds. Raise your arms so your elbows are above the level of your shoulders and step through the doorway, holding the stretch for 10 seconds.

Step 8
Repeat the post-workout stretches for three more repetitions per stretch.

Step 9
Apply a cold pack over your shoulder to reduce any new swelling that results from your stretching and strengthening exercises.

Tips and Warnings
  • Slowly increase the weight of the dumbbells you are using, further strengthening your shoulders.
  • Advise your therapist of any new or unusual pain you experience while you are healing your shoulder injury.




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