What is the Best Exercise for Arthritic Shoulders?

Written by Charissa Peters, DPT

It is important to know that arthritis causes inflammation of the joints as well as breakdown of the cartilage that cushions your bones. The pain and stiffness associated with arthritis is a result of these characteristics. Treatment for these symptoms must include a program that includes flexibility and incorporates strengthening.  This will help ease the pain as well as increase your range of motion and overall functionality.

Improving flexibility will aid in widening your range of motion in the shoulder. It will also increase the blood flow and nutrients to the area which will help eliminate inflammation. Stretches should focus on regaining lost motion.  Such stretches could include reaching being the back, overhead and across the body will assist in increasing flexibility.

Strengthening builds muscle around the joint, which supports the arthritic shoulder. A program that focuses on the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizing muscles would be key. Some examples of exercises which would be beneficial are rows, shoulder extensions and internal and external shoulder rotations.

Lastly note exercises shouldn't increase pain. If pain exists, a health care professional should be contacted to provide professional suggestions. To ensure that the exercises are appropriately and correctly performed and to prevent further injury, a professional with knowledge and experience in the industry she be consulted. 

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