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Pendulum Exercise for Use with Shoulder Repair Surgeries

Stretching exercises for your shoulder, such as the pendulum exercise, can improve flexibility, increase range of motion, and reduce pain. Your healthcare provider or physical therapist has advised this exercise to help speed your healing. Make sure you breathe normally when you exercise. And try to use smooth, fluid movements.

Doing the pendulum exercise

  • Follow any special instructions you were given. If you feel pain, stop the exercise. If you keep feeling the pain after stopping, call your healthcare provider or physical therapist.

  • Start this exercise with your affected arm as soon as you are told to do so:

    • Lean over with your good arm supported on a table or chair.

    • Relax the arm on the painful side, letting it hang straight down.

    • Slowly start to swing the relaxed arm by moving your body. Move it in a circle, then reverse the direction. Next, move the arm backward and forward. Lastly, move it side to side.

    • Let gravity gently sway your arm. Do not actively lift or move it with your shoulder muscles.

    • Do the exercise  3 times a day, for 5 to 10 minutes each time, or as your healthcare provider told you to do. Change the direction of your movement after 1 minute of motion.

    Man leaning over swinging arm in circle doing shoulder exercise.

Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Thomas N Joseph MD
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2022
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