Shoulder Rehabilitation Guidelines

The shoulder joint is one of the most complex in the body. In fact, it consists of two different joints – the glenohumeral and the acromioclavicular, which work in synergy. They are held together by a dense network of muscles, cartilage and tendons that wear and tear over time. Poor exercise performance speed up this process, which ultimately leads to various permanent shoulder injuries ranging from mild and annoying to extremely painful.


And not only that – every shoulder is connected to all the important muscles in the upper part of the body and its range of motion depends on them. So, when a shoulder trauma occurs, it also affects the rest of the muscles in the upper body.


Here is how modern medicine proceeds on shoulder injuries:


Tendons – in most cases, the injuries are in the form of torn muscles; almost always, however, the main reason for their occurrence are weakened tendons that are unable to maintain muscle tissue. This is the first problem that needs to be addressed during rehabilitation for optimal recovery.


Pain – shoulder pain is due to two main reasons – the nervous stimulus and the reaction of the brain. This means that the pain is not proportional to the actual damage to the shoulder structure. But if you follow the path and understand what exactly causes it could be the key to prescribing appropriate treatment.


Symptoms – a trauma in such a complex area as the shoulders, requires the identification of the exact movement that causes the pain; then the movement is modified to serve the purposes of rehabilitation.


Exercises to restore shoulders after injury


If for any reason you cannot or do not want to contact a specialist, you may also try to diagnose and cure yourself. The first thing, of course, is to establish the exact place of pain. To do this, stretch your hand and carefully move your shoulder; Complete a full range of hand movement, such as lifting up, lowering down to the floor, and so on.


Depending on when exactly the injury has occurred, you should leave at least a week’s rest to allow the joint tendons to recover from the inflammation. Then, you can start with the actual rehabilitation exercises that aim to improve the condition of both the tendons and the rotary cuff.


Given series and reps are only indicative. You need to identify the most suitable for yourself. Depending on the type of injury, the pain and the limitation of the range of movement, some exercises will be more appropriate than others, and you can safely give them a higher priority – you do not have to perform all equally. Modify the exercises so that you can get the most out of them.


External rotations


Stand with your back, against a wall, your body and shoulders straight. Bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle and move your hand to your belly, putting your palm on your stomach. Perform an external rotation by moving your arm and forearm, keeping the elbows curved until the back of your hand touches the wall. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then return your hand to the starting position. Make 1 series of 10 reps for each hand.


Stretching the supraspinal


For this exercise you will need two dumbbells. Stand upright, holding a dumbbell in each hand, the thumbs pointing down. Keeping your elbows straight, slowly lower your arms downward to form a 45 degree angle. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then slowly turn your hands back to their original position. Make 3 sets of 20 reps, once a day. This exercise strengthens the muscles and tendons in the rotating cuff so that the shoulders stabilize more quickly and regain their mobility.


Stretching the triceps


Stand upright and put your palm down as far as you can. With your other hand, grasp the elbow at the first and gently pull it down behind your head. Continue this pull until you feel a stretch in the shoulders. Stay for 5 seconds, then relax. Take 1 series of 10 reps for each hand 2-3 times a day to strengthen the tendons and joints in the shoulders and restore your range of motion.


Flexing the shoulder scapula


Lie down face down, arms side to shoulder level, elbows folded 90 degrees. Lift your hands from the floor as much as you can while shrinking your shoulder blades. Keep your neck at rest and do not shrug your shoulders. The lower muscles in the scapula should shrink as you perform this exercise. Hold each shrink for 5 seconds, then release. Do 1 series of 20 repetitions 3 times a day to strengthen the muscles in the shoulders and to prevent future injuries.

Good shoulder rehabilitation consists of five key elements:


Sports Specific Techniques – Perform slow movements typical of your sport to find out how much pain reduces and mobility increases.


Flexibility – the flexibility of the shoulder joints will be something you should always pay attention to.


Stable core (the muscles around the abdomen and the waist) – it allows to transfer kinetic energy to the muscles of the shoulders during head movements.


Control over rotating cuffs – Exercise strength and flexibility of shoulder joints are required to ensure that the muscles and tendons are perfectly balanced.


Strength – lack of balance in muscles is a prerequisite for a new injury.

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