Gentle Shoulder Rehab: Just A Suggestion

November 24, 2009

Filed under: AB'S PERSONAL VIEWS,SPORTS INJURIES,UPPER LIMB — Andy Bellamy @ 12:00 pm

There is an old saying that suggests that there are many ways to skin a cat. Just so, and there are also many ways to stretch and rehab any joint, including the shoulder.

I sometimes feel that there is a gap in the way that we as therapists and trainers handle the recovery and rehabilitation phase of shoulder injury; that the categories are sub-divided too starkly into black and white, passive and active, low-stress mobilising and strength building. It seems to me that we should more often look at what the individual needs and build in an intermediate phase, where act as guide but let the injured individual be inventive and therefore participatory in their own recovery. They improve faster as a result. Encourage them to clean windows, polish floors, bounce balls against a wall – all low, (or at least controllable), effort activities that help to distract from the discomfort but also gives a sense of achievement.

This is not revolutionary thinking by any means as business management techniques are always telling us that if the employee ‘buys in’, then productivity and contentment rise! Why should patients and sports people be any different?

Each individual is just that, individual, and has different physical structure, varying levels of physical activity, abilities, age, expectations and needs. It seems intuitive, therefore, that while those who are professionals endeavour to tailor recovery regimes, that they should, in part at least, be led by the recipient.

I am a great fan of The Rotater and, increasingly, of Kettlebell workouts, but they have very different ‘points of entry’ in the timeline of recovery – the Rotater can be used fairly early in the recovery phase – gently at first, ramping up the intensity as pain reduces and range of motion increases and until it becomes an integral part of any workout, prehab or sporting event. Kettlebell is fantastic as a total body workout that is low impact and wonderful as shoulder mobiliser, BUT is only appropriate rather further down the recovery road!

The following video tries to outline a fairly ‘loose’ approach to mobilising the shoulder – be inventive, work within your means to start with, gradually increasing range and intensity, trust your therapist or trainer, but trust yourself as well.

As with all advice on medical conditions, check with your doctor, osteopath, physiotherapist, chiropractor or trainer before embarking on any new regime.

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