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Exercises for Shoulder Flexibility: Adduction (Reaching Across)

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 healthcare provider or physical therapist:

  1. Put the hand from the side you want to stretch on your opposite shoulder. Your elbow should point away from your body. Try to raise your elbow as close to shoulder height as you can.

  2. With your other hand, gently push the raised elbow toward the opposite shoulder. Prevent turning your head. Stop when you feel the stretch. Try to hold the stretch for 5 seconds.

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

Note: Be sure to push your elbow across your chest, not up toward your chin. Over time, try to push your elbow farther across your chest to enhance the stretch.

Woman doing adduction shoulder exercise.

Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder is another name for adhesive capsulitis. It causes pain and limited movement in the shoulder. If you have frozen shoulder, this stretch may cause discomfort, especially when you first get started. A few months to possibly several years may pass before you achieve the results you want. Frozen shoulder may occur again, especially for those with diabetes, .it is important to continue your stretching program on a regular basis as instructed. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your healthcare provider or physical therapist.

Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Trina Bellendir PT
Date Last Reviewed: 9/1/2023
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