Exercises for the Shoulder Capsule

Written by robin reichert
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Exercises for the Shoulder Capsule
Shoulder exercises help improve range of motion and may prevent injury. (Shoulder stretch as part of a Thai body massage. image by Deborah Benbrook from Fotolia.com)

A tight shoulder capsule can limit the range of motion and cause stiffness in the joint. Shoulder capsule injury can result in limited mobility and pain. Exercises designed to stretch the shoulder capsule help to improve mobility and flexibility. Stretching exercise may be prescribed by a doctor for those who have suffered rotator cuff and shoulder capsule injury.

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Internal Rotation Stretch

To improve shoulder mobility, exercise the internal rotation of the shoulder. Stretching exercises are often prescribed as a rehabilitative exercise for those who have suffered a shoulder injury. Begin by laying your side on the floor with the shoulder you want to stretch against the floor. Stretch out the arm on the floor and bend your elbow so that your hand is pointed toward the ceiling, and keep your shoulders and body straight. Grasp your wrist with the other hand and pull down toward the floor. The pulling motion will stretch the posterior capsule and stabilise the shoulder blades (scapula). You should also feel your upper back muscles stretching during this exercise. Maintain this position for 10 seconds. Take a moment to relax and then do the exercise again for a total of five times.

Anterior Capsule Stretch

Prepare to stretch the anterior shoulder capsule by standing in a doorway and aligning your shoulders with the door frame. Spread your feet slightly apart and turn your toes outward, and keep your arms hanging loosely at your sides. Begin the exercise by tightening your abdominal muscles. Pull both of your shoulders downward and backward at the same time, and try to keep your back straight. To prevent your back from arching, press your chest outward and lift your head slightly. Bend the right elbow and place it against the surface of the door frame. Slowly turn your head to the left and then to the right. Hold the stretch in each direction for about 15 seconds, and repeat the exercise four times for each side.

Posterior Capsule Stretch

Prepare for the posterior capsule stretch as you would for the anterior capsule stretch. Instead of pressing your forearm against the door frame, extend one arm in front of you and keep your palm open and facing up. Place the other arm across your body and your palm under the elbow of the extended arm. Pull your elbow inward and downward at the same time. Hold this position for 15 seconds; relax and then repeat this exercise a total of four times for each side.

Another helpful exercise to stretch the posterior capsule is to stand up straight with the feet slightly apart and the toes pointing forward. Grasp the end of a towel or pillow case in one hand and raise that hand above your head. Drop the other end behind your back. With the other arm reach behind your back and grasp the other end of the towel. Pull down on the towel to stretch the posterior capsule. Hold the position for 10 seconds and then switch sides.

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