Shoulder physical therapy is an effective method of addressing pain associated with the upper torso and shoulder area. Stretching helps to improve range of motion, relieve muscle tension, and restore normal mobility to the affected area. The purpose of stretching is to reduce pain and restore mobility. For shoulder physical therapy concerns, here are at least five effective and common stretches to alleviate shoulder pain that a physical therapist may recommend.
This stretch is sometimes called the cat stretch, because it looks like the tail of a tail and is often recommended for people with minor neck or shoulder problems. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your right arm straight against your thigh. Bring your arms to your shoulder width and then extend your right arm, making sure it lies across your chest.
A common stretching exercise that many therapists recommend is the arm circles. Begin by laying on your side with both of your hands placed comfortably on your hips and left arm reaching down toward your groin. With your right arm in between your legs to bring it up over your shoulder and in toward your chest. Gently rotate your body to make the rotator cuff muscle work.
Many people experience shoulder pain as the result of motion abnormalities. To test for rotator cuff muscular imbalances, try this simple motion. Place your arm in a hand position similar to how you will normally reach upward with the arm but without allowing it to reach over your head. Then gently move your arm back and forth while paying special attention to any pain or sensitivity that you may be experiencing.
This stretching exercise is often recommended to patients suffering from shoulder pain because it allows the use of other upper extremity motion. By using this motion you can increase range of motion and alleviate pain. In physical therapy, the therapist will teach you the best way to perform the exercise, which will also maximize its effectiveness. Make sure that you are completely relaxed when doing these exercises and do not force the muscles to compensate for the pain. You may find it beneficial to lie down on a stability ball so that you are better able to focus on the motion.
Shoulder physical therapy should be performed at least once a week to start reducing shoulder pain. You want to make sure that you are doing the exercises correctly so that you are not doing more harm to yourself than good. Make sure that you consult with your physician before starting any new physical therapy routine. He or she can help you customize a program to avoid overuse of any particular movement or pattern.