Shoulder rehab is a type of general conditioning program that is designed to provide a vast array of exercises designed to assist individuals after experiencing an injury or having surgery. It aids in ensuring that person is able to quickly return to their daily activities. It permits the participant to enjoy a lifestyle with activities in a healthy manner.

In most instances, shoulder rehabilitation is performed with a licensed physical therapist and it may include a medical doctor’s supervision. The rehab program is customized based on the health and needs of the participant. Continue reading to learn about this productive means of boosting the health of the shoulder or shoulders.

woman with shoulder pain

How Long Does Shoulder Rehab Take?

Shoulder rehabilitation is a type of conditioning program. Therefore, it typically lasts for anywhere from 4 weeks to up to 6 weeks. It may be shorter or longer, depending on the underlying reason why an individual is in the rehab program.

A doctor or a licensed physical therapist that specializes in shoulder pain (or a combination of both) will typically create a customized program for a patient and advise on how long the program should last.

Following a complete recovery, most patients are advised to continue in a standard exercise maintenance program. This will help in maintaining the health of the shoulders and providing protection against future complications – such as injury.

What is the Focus of Shoulder Rehab?

The focus of shoulder rehab includes increasing the strength of the muscles that provide support to the shoulder so that the joint will remain stable. You may be working on a tear in the shoulder cuff, Frozen Shoulder, or an impingement.

Additionally, flexibility is a strong focus.

The strengthening exercises will help in restoring the overall range of motion and will help in ensuring that the muscles are kept long so that soreness and further injury is prevented.

What Muscles are Targeted in Shoulder Rehab?

There are several muscles that are targeted in shoulder rehab. In the front of the shoulder, the deltoids and the subscapularis are targeted. In the shoulder joint, the teres, supraspinatus, and the infraspinatus muscles are targeted. In the upper back, the trapezius and rhomboid are targeted.

In the front and back of the upper arm, the biceps and the triceps are targeted. All of the exercises within the shoulder rehab program are designed to condition each of the muscles that have an impact on the shoulder or shoulders and associated joints for an extended amount of time so that more activity may be tolerated without complications from occurring in the future.

When Should Shoulder Rehab be Started?

Once an injury has occurred – such as a sprain – the shoulder should be rested for up to three weeks. If a more serious injury occurs or if shoulder surgery has been done, the resting period will be longer.

A medical doctor will advise on exactly when it is safe to take part in shoulder rehabilitation.

In the most severe cases, rest may be required for up to three months. Once the resting period has passed and approval has been obtained from a doctor and/or licensed physical therapist, shoulder rehab may be started.

What Should be the Main Focus of Shoulder Rehab?

During shoulder rehab, muscular timing – which is also referred to as “coordinator contractions” – is one of the main focuses. Progression factors will also be an area of focus. This places an emphasis on the neuromuscular control of the entire shoulder region.

Additionally, posture control, body positioning, and related areas are of special importance as they relate to the dynamic-based motions or movements of the shoulder.

Does Shoulder Rehab Cause Pain?

When engaging in shoulder rehab, it is common to experience some degree of soreness; however, you should not experience severe degrees of pain. The reason for the soreness that is commonly experienced is a result of an accumulation of lactic acid that comes from inactive, weak muscles.

As more activity is engaged in, the muscles will get stronger and less irritation will occur as a result of the lactic acid build-up. If you experience severe pain, you should stop all activities and consult with the physical therapist and/or your primary care physician.

Do I Have to Do Shoulder Rehab Daily?

No, shoulder rehab should not be done daily. In the beginning of the program, you will likely work out a couple of days a week. This may – eventually – go up to three or four days a week. It is important to rest your body the day after engaging in the program.

This resting period will help the muscles in properly recovering. If you find that you experience pain during shoulder rehab, avoid pushing through it.

Instead, you should rest. By pushing through, you may actually cause more damage to be done than if you scaled back and took a break from the rehabilitation exercises.

Shoulder Rehab

Before Starting Shoulder Rehab Exercises, What Should I Do?

Before doing the exercises of your shoulder rehab program, you should start by warming up and doing some stretching.

A warm-up should include up to 10 minutes of an activity that is considered to be low impact. This would include walking or doing a small workout on a stationary bike.

The stretching exercises should follow the low impact activity. At the end up of your shoulder rehab session, be sure to repeat the stretches that you did before the session started. This will help to cool-down or work-down your body for relaxation and rest.

What are the Most Common Exercises Done During Shoulder Rehab?

There are several exercises that may be performed during shoulder rehab; however, the following outline the most common:

  1. Pendulum
  2. Crossover Arm Stretches
  3. Standing Row

How Do You Do the Pendulum Exercise for Shoulder Rehab?

To perform the pendulum exercise for shoulder rehab, lean forward and put one hand on a table or similar structure for support. Let the opposite arm hang at the side of the body. Swing the arm forward and back in a gentle manner. Then, move the arm side to side. Finally, repeat with the opposite arm.

How Do You Do the Crossover Arm Stretches for Shoulder Rehab?

To do the crossover arm stretches, relax the shoulders and pull one arm across the chest just as far as you are able to and hold the arm at the upper arm section. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then, completely relax for 30 seconds. Immediately after, do the same with the opposite arm.

How Do You Do the Standing Row Exercise for Shoulder Rehab?

To perform this exercise, you will need to use an elastic band that stretches for resistance. Make a loop of about 3 feet in length. Then tie the ends. Place it on a stable object, such as a knob of a door. Then, hold it with the elbow at the side. Pull the elbow back and return to start position and continue to repeat.

Are There Ways to Heal My Shoulder Faster?

Yes, there are many techniques that will help in healing the shoulder faster. First, you may wear a shoulder immobilizer or a sling. Next, complete your physical therapy shoulder rehab program.

Quit taking any pain medication as quickly as you are able to. You should be careful with positions and movements that cause you pain and discomfort.

Do not push yourself too quickly. Many do this believing that they will recover more quickly. The fact of the matter is, though, it may cause more harm than good and recovery may take longer. You may consult with your primary care physician and your physical therapist to learn about other strategies that will help in healing the shoulder more quickly.

Is There a Way to Eliminate Stiffness During Shoulder Rehab?

Yes, you may perform the following: First, decide whether you want to sit or to stand. Get situated and take the good arm that you have and lift the bad arm directly at the elbow. Then, bring it all the way across the body while placing a gentle amount of pressure on the arm to stretch out the shoulder.

Hold this position up to 20 second and perform this up to 20 times a day. It is best to space it out so that you do 20 reps over the course of the entire day. Doing too many reps at once may do more damage and result in longer levels of discomfort.

Should I Sleep a Certain Way When in Shoulder Rehab?

When undergoing shoulder rehab, you should sleep on a medium-firm mattress and with a pillow that you are comfortable with. Simply rest as much as possible. If discomfort occurs at night, you may take an anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medication if a doctor has said it is safe for you to do so.

Contact Us Today

Have you suffered a shoulder injury? Have you had to have surgery? Do you experience shoulder pain? If so, contact us today at Back to Motion Physical Therapy. We will work with you to create a customized shoulder rehabilitation program that will help you recover fast and get back to living!

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