Shoulder Exercise #3

Continuing the series on exercises given to me for my rotator cuff issues, today is a look at two different quick exercises that are quite similar.

Maybe this should have been number one, since it’s the first shoulder exercise I was ever given.  I gained an even greater appreciation for the internet after being told what the problem with my rotator cuff was, and asking, “The x-rays showed tendonitis?  I thought tendons don’t show up on x-rays?”

My search for information led to a good introductory explanation of rotator cuff disorders at WebMD.  Reading the entire article, I eventually found home exercises for the rotator cuff, along with a zillion warnings that the exercises should not be done without first consulting your health care practitioner.  I’m okay with that, but I’d just seen my doctor and didn’t really want to drive back to town.  It would have been nice if he’d told me during that appointment that there were some things I could try at home to make my shoulders better, but he didn’t, so I phoned and left a message for the nurse, “I found these rotator cuff exercises, but they come with a warning to discuss them with the doctor first.  Is it okay?”  Here’s where emailing the doctor’s office would be nice – I could have just sent the link and they’d look and say “yes” or “no” or “come see us first.”

But I digress.  When my call was returned, the NP described some exercises that I could try – and all of them were in the WebMD article.  Wall walking was her first recommendation.  The simple method – no equipment required – is to slowly walk the fingers up the wall, stopping when it hurts.  Over time (and it doesn’t take too long), this will increase range of motion.

When I eventually saw a physical therapist, he put a twist on it and had me roll a big balance ball up the wall.

I start at chest height and roll the ball up the wall until my arms are fully extended overhead, then lean in toward the wall for extra stretch.  Fortunately, my house has vaulted ceilings so I can do this indoors.  Standard eight-foot ceilings would make it impossible to do in the house, requiring some creativity to avoid getting rained on:  maybe in the garage.

Disclaimer:  this is not medical advice.  Consult your personal physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical issues.
It really is important to run the exercises past your doctor.  Some of the stretches on the WebMD site were recommended to me the first time I saw a PT, but this last time was told that my shoulder can’t handle those and I should stick with the easier ones for now.

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3 thoughts on “Shoulder Exercise #3

  1. Socks: An alternate “wall walker” exercise is the top of the desk/table stretch. I actually get better stretch out of this one than the wall walker.
    Sitting at your desk or dining/kitchen table, lay your arm across the top of the surface in front of you (like you were reaching for something in front of you). Then lean forward and gently stretch, trying to touch your forehead to the desk/table top. Alternate palm up and palm down.
    Both my PT guys as well as my shoulder surgeon approved this after my shoulder replacement surgery, but I’d certainly check with your team to be sure that they’re okay with it.

    Good luck with your shoulder exercises. My rotator cuff surgery is coming up in about a month. :-|

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