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Shaping Up Your Shoulder



What have you done for your shoulders today?  An odd question?  Perhaps not when you consider what your shoulders do for you each and every day.  Looking at this ball and socket joint as an engineering marvel, it is the mechanism which allows us to reach to the ceiling, get that itch in your midback, and make "angel wings" in the snow.  Our movement depends on keeping our shoulders mobile.  Arthritis, tendonitis....even bursitis may hinder movement from time to time.  Joint restriction can be temporary.

Shoulder mobility is directly related to postural control.  Stiff shoulders tend to sag, pulling your head and neck forward.  The "domino effect" follows with the rounding of your upper back and flattening of your lower spine.  Rounded, sagging shoulders leads to labored breathing and consequent tiredness.  Postural control and shoulder mobility go hand in hand.

A few simple shoulder mobility exercises can make the difference.

Pendular arm swingpendular arm swing

Stand with your arm at your side.  Slowly swing arm back and forth.  20 - 30x, two to three times a day


Diagonal pole swing

Diagonal pole shoulder swingPlace ends of pole in palm of each hand.  Begin with arms straight down in front of you.  Slowly swing pole up and out to the side, keeping elbows straight. Swing back across lower body, moving up and out to the opposite side.  Repeat 20 times to each side.                                               


                        Behind back pole slideBehind back pole slide

Place pole behind low back.  Hold pole with each hand, palms up.  Slowly slide pole up toward mid back.  Hold.  Slowly lower pole to start position.  Repeat 10 - 12 times.


Angel wings

Angel wings shoulder stretchStand with arms at your sides, palms facing toward side.  Slowly inhale as you raise both arms out to the sides, upward above your head.  Bring back of hands together. Slowly lower arms back to sides while you exhale.  Relax.  Repeat 10-12 times.


                                 Shoulder blade pinch

Shld blade pinch & stretch 1 copyStand or sit with arms at your sides.  Bend your elbows, keeping them next to your body.  Turn palms to face each other, leaving the thumb in the "hitchhike" position.  Slowly pull your elbows backward, allowing your shoulder blades to pinch together, keep thumbs in the "hitchhike" postion.  Do not lift shoulders during exercise.  Hold for 3 seconds.  Relax, moving arms back to starting position.  Repeat 10-12 times.

More physical therapy exercises available thru the


Diana welcomes your comments


This is good information. Now I need to do this.
Posted @ Wednesday, November 09, 2011 8:18 AM by John Hilleman
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Diana Echert

Jumping for PT DocTools

Diana is a licensed physical therapist whose experience spans inpatient and outpatient work in rehab, geriatrics, orthopedics and sports medicine. An avid hker and tennis player, she you must practice what you preach.  Stay active and informed any way you can

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