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"Reaching Up" for Shoulder Flexibility

Woman standing facing bookcase, grasping shelf with one hand. Ghosting shows her bending knees and bending forward at waist to stretch arm and shoulder.

This stretch can help restore shoulder flexibility and relieve pain over time. When stretching, be sure to breathe deeply. And follow any special instructions from your doctor or physical therapist.

  1. Raise the hand on the side you want to stretch as high as you can. Then grasp a stable surface, such as a bookcase or a doorframe, with the same hand.

  2. Keeping your arm straight, lower your body by bending your knees. Stop when you feel the stretch in the shoulder. Try to hold the stretch for 5 seconds.

  3. Work up to doing 3 sets of this stretch, 3 times a day. Work up to holding the stretch for 30–60 seconds.

Note: Your back should remain straight. To enhance the stretch over time, try to bend your knees lower. Or, raise your arm higher at the start of the stretch.

 

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is another name for adhesive capsulitis, which causes restricted movement in the shoulder. If you have frozen shoulder, this stretch may cause discomfort, especially when you first get started. A few months may pass before you achieve the results you want. But once your shoulder heals, it almost never becomes frozen again. So stick to your stretching program. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your doctor.

 

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