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Shoulder Mobility - How You Can Improve it?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Sanyam Malhotra 89% (1533 ratings)
BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, New Delhi  •  12 years experience
Shoulder Mobility - How You Can Improve it?

Your shoulders are one of the most important parts of your body, but sadly it is also one of the most neglected parts. People use their shoulders for day to day activities. Without shoulders it would be very difficult to even do a simple activity like lifting a fallen paper from the ground. Like your other body-parts, shoulders also need proper attention and care.

Why is shoulder mobility so important?
Whether it is about moving a growing child, lifting a barbeque table or about moving heavy luggage, actions require shoulder mobility. If you find it difficult to do these activities it is highly probable that you have shoulder impingement syndrome. This syndrome occurs when the rotator cuff muscles become inflamed and irritated and result in severe pain and difficulty while moving one’s shoulder. Weak shoulders also make your posture look bad, it can cause grave strains in your neck and back and make you look hunched which is not at all attractive for your appearance.

Different kinds of shoulder injuries and causes of shoulder immobility:

  1. Rotator cuff injury

  2. Frozen shoulder

  3. Onset of arthritis

  4. Shoulder instability

  5. Injury to the tendons and ligaments

  6. Shoulder dislocation

  7. Torn rotator cuff

  8. Impingement – It refers to the excessive friction of the shoulder muscles against the top part of the shoulder blade.

How can you improve shoulder mobility?

  1. You can improve your shoulder mobility with the help of some exercises. For example, stand straight with your hip and feet apart. Move your hands behind your back and try to interlock your fingers, if you face difficulty in doing so, use a towel instead. Hold this position for a minute or so.
  2. Sit and keep your feet and knees straight pointing towards the direction of your eyes. Touch your shoulder blade by bringing your hands backward, touch your elbow with your other hand and bring it upwards. Sit straight, hold your head up and breathe slowly. Hold this position for a minute and then repeat again.
  3. You can also improve your shoulder mobility with the help of yoga. Yoga is all about relieving your tension and stress, hence it is very beneficial to loosen up tight shoulders and it makes you much healthier by improving shoulder mobility. Stand straight with your feet at least four feet apart and then bend your left foot slightly towards to the right. Make your right foot bend 90 degrees. Raise your right arm towards the left and bend your body. Inhale and exhale. Switch sides after taking five breaths.

Physiotherapy For Shoulder Mobility-

Physical Therapy is not just scientific; it is also very thorough and very methodical in its way of healing and remedying clients with many aches and pains. A therapist is well trained and very careful in massaging and handling delicate parts of the body such as the vertebrae, extremities and in cases of temporomandibular joint neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction. Physical Therapy is a distinct specialization in the practice of physiotherapy.

Before patients are treated with the therapy, it is very important that they undergo a preliminary assessment of what ails them. Their dysfunctions are determined and their biochemical systems are assessed as well. The body's posture as well as the placement is analyzed and almost all areas of the entire body in terms of the position and functioning of the musculoskeletal system is considered just to make sure that the root cause of the problem is discovered and treated.

The aim of the therapy is to alleviate pain, strengthen the body, and improve movement and usability of the limbs as well as the other areas of the body through the use of the hands. The therapy also utilizes various work-out regimens as well as a home carry over system to make sure that the intervention plan will work as expected. More than just treatment, physical therapy is a means of assisting a patient to recover body movement, strength and function, therefore the need to have a strong determination to improve from the patient is definitely required. Here are some physical exercises to improve shoulder mobility-

  1. First step is to provide adequate rest to the shoulder. Avoid using the affected arm too much. Keep it in a comfortable position. Do not strain the arm.

  2. Cold compressions can help to ease pain and swelling. Alternate applications of hot and cold compressions help to reduce inflammation and provide quicker relief.

  3. Keeping the arm elevated in a swing is recommended. It helps to drain the fluid or oedema and reduce pain.

  4. Other exercises recommended are basic shoulder strengthening exercises. Example of one such exercise is gently pulling an elastic tubing attached to a door knob, towards your body. These can be performed twice daily, starting five times with each arm.

  5. Wall push exercises are those that strengthen shoulders, forearms, biceps and triceps. You must stand at least a feet away from the wall and push against the wall, for a count of 5 to 10.

  6. Shoulder press ups are exercises that can be comfortably done while sitting on a chair. Keep your arms on the armrest of the chair. Instead of putting the weight on your feet, rise up slowly by putting the weight on your hands. Repeat this 5 times twice or thrice daily.

  7. There are isometric shoulder mobility exercises that involve muscle contraction and movement of limbs. It involves strengthening the muscles through extension, contraction, rotation and flexion of shoulder joint.

  8. There are lateral rotation abduction exercises, lateral shoulder raises, lateral shoulder pull down.

  9. There’s a range of scapula squeeze exercises that involve strengthening and stabilising the shoulder blades.

  10. Medicine balls and lightweight dumbbells can be used as props to exercise the shoulders.

A bad shoulder not only results in a bad posture but also prevents you from doing day to day activities. Hence it is necessary to take care of your shoulders and exercise daily to improve the mobility. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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