Pendulum Exercises for Shoulder Rehabilitation

Call us at 281-633-8600.  In this article and video, Dr. Bennett demonstrates the pendulum exercise he recommends for some of his patients for shoulder surgery rehabilitation.  Doctor Bennett serves patients from all over Houston and Texas from our clinic in Sugar Land, near First Colony Mall, and in Houston, near the Houston Galleria.  He specializes in treating injuries and pathologies of the shoulders, elbows, knees, and some hand and wrist injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger.

These are the pendulum shoulder rehabilitation exercises demonstrated by Doctor. J. Michael Bennett, a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Fellowship Trained Sports Medicine Physician.

We accept Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare and most other medical insurance plans.

This information is for educational purposes only.  It’s not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  You should not start an exercise program or act upon any information provided here without first seeking medical advice from a physician.

Here’s a transcript of the video:

Hey guys, this is J. Michael Bennett here, and I’m over at Plex which is an excellent physical therapy facility where they do sports performance and sports specific training and I’m just here to show you some basic exercises on what to do after surgery.  Primarily this is geared toward my patients that have had any kind of shoulder surgery.

Once again, every surgeon is different regarding a post-operative course of rehabilitation; it is very important that you follow what works for your surgeon, okay?  You do not want to go outside their specific directions.

So if you’ve just had surgery like a decompression where they just remove bone spurs or they just cleaned things up a bit and they actually haven’t done any kind of rotator cuff repair, one of the basic exercises that you can start off by doing is called the pendulum exercise.  What you want to do with the pendulum exercise is find some sort of support such as a chair or stool, put it in front of you, make sure this is your good arm, this is the surgical arm, lean forward and support your body and let your arm just hang so that the arm is dangling.  Gravity is the only thing that’s working on the arm at this point; when you start your pendulum exercises you start very slowly, start by shifting the body, creating momentum in the arm.  This is a passive exercise; passively you’re moving your shoulder.  And you stop and let it stop.  Then you move it the other direction, passively moving your shoulder.  Be careful here.  A lot of patients will misinterpret this and think that just swinging their arm in a circle works.  That’s not the case.  The muscles must not fire because you can disrupt your repair.  So it all needs to be passive motion.  Rock the body a little bit, passive forward motion actually gets the arm swinging a little bit, and move it in circles.  You can also do forward and you can do side to side.  

Once again, I’m not actively firing these muscles.  This is all with gravity.  This is only passive motion for the shoulder.  Another way to do this is if you’re in your sling and you’ve got your arm dangling, and if you don’t want to take the sling off lean over while hanging in the sling and just rock your arm in a circle, like this, and then rock it back.  And that’s passive circumduction, or passive motion, also known as the pendulum exercises in the shoulder. 

If you have any questions about this exercise, please call 281-633-8600 for an appointment with Doctor Bennett.

Dr. J. Michael Bennett

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