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Do You Know Your Shoulder ROM?

The shoulder joint has the maximum range of motion as compared to any other joint of the body. Because of the uniqueness of the joint structure, a healthy person should be able to actively move their shoulder joint in eleven planes: flexion, circumduction, extension, horizontal and neutral abduction, horizontal and neutral adduction, horizontal and neutral internal rotation, and horizontal and neutral external rotation.

The usual shoulder range of motion 

  • 157°–162° for Forward Flexion

  • 148°–152° for Abduction

  • 53°–59° for external rotation

Shoulder rom necessitates both active and passive assessment. Some individuals may have decreased range of motion in the joint because of pain, tendon injuries, weakness, and soft or bony tissue blockage to motion. If you are feeling pain or a lesser range of motion, it is appropriate to consult with a healthcare expert to identify the root cause of the issue and the best method to treat it.

Exercises to Improve Shoulder ROM

Pain physicians in Dallas may prescribe shoulder range of motion (ROM) exercises if you have a shoulder issue that limits your arm and shoulder mobility. Such exercises are active, utilizing your muscle endurance and power with no external assistance. This helps to enhance overall muscular movement and strength surrounding your shoulder, helping to fully recover following a shoulder injury or shoulder or elbow surgery

Your shoulder pain specialist in Dallas will facilitate progress with an effective and safe exercise plan. It helps you regain regular ROM in your shoulder. These exercises follow a general progression to regain normal, painless ROM in your shoulder joint.

Active Horizontal Abduction Exercise

Put your elbow straight and extend your shoulder in a position where your arm is parallel to the floor and outside in front of you.

Gradually lift your arm upwards so that your palm is pointing towards the roof. Hold this pose for almost one to two seconds, and then gradually lower to the starting point. Pass through a painless ROM. Several shoulder impingement exercises can improve shoulder range of motion.

Perform this exercise for 8 to 12 sets. If you notice any pain with this movement, stop immediately and discuss it with your healthcare provider or physical therapist.

Sidelying Shoulder External Rotation Exercise

Shoulder external rotation is an ideal exercise to improve shoulder rotator cuff muscle utilization. This activity is very impactful to perform following a shoulder injury or rotator cuff surgery. It can help enhance rotator cuff endurance or improve the neuromuscular functions of this muscle mass. Be sure to consult your healthcare expert and physical therapist to confirm that this exercise is perfect for you.

Start this exercise by lying on your side and placing the targeted shoulder on top. Place your elbow at 90 degrees and position it on your side. For the entire duration, the elbow should stay by your side. Your hand must be resting easily in front of your belly button.

Active Shoulder External Rotation

To participate in the external rotation, gradually raise your hand toward the roof. Your elbow must remain turned and tucked into your side. When it rotates, the movement should come from your shoulders. As your shoulder turns out in all directions, keep in the end position for almost two seconds, and then gradually return to the initial position.

You should participate in 8 to 12 painless repetitions of this activity. Then, move on to the final active shoulder ROM movement. ​

Side Lying Shoulder Internal Rotation Exercise

To initiate active shoulder internal rotation, an individual must lie on the side, yet this time the shoulder to be moved should be on the lower side. He may have to activate the arm in a forward direction for an inch or two to avoid lying directly on the elbow or arm. Place your elbow turning to 90 degrees, and put your palm facing upwards.

Shoulder Internal Rotation Exercise

If you keep the elbow turned 90 degrees, gradually turn your shoulder so that the palm moves up in the direction of your navel. The ROM must be painless. Once your palm is up at the navel level, hold this pose for two seconds, and then gradually move to lower back towards the starting position.

Continue this exercise for almost 8 to 12 repetitions. Make sure this exercise doesn't cause any pain.

Shoulder Abduction Exercise in Sidelying

To start the shoulder ROM exercises, initiate with shoulder abduction. Lay on one side. Place the shoulder on top of which you are moving. Position your elbow to the right and your thumb towards the ceiling.

Keep your arm aligned and on your hip, then slowly raise it into the air, facing the ceiling. Ensure to keep your hand aligned with your body, and confirm your thumb keeps pointing at the roof.

Mobilize your shoulder completely through a painless ROM, and then gradually move your arm back down to the initial position. Do this for 8 to 12 repetitions, and then move on to the next activity.

Remember to perform these exercises after warm-up sessions. Shoulder injuries and accidents are common among many athletes and players. When you perform exercises like barbell squats and pull-ups, ignoring the endurance of your shoulder and enhancing your shoulder range of motion, there is a greater risk of injuring the shoulder muscles.

Complications Associated With limited Shoulder ROM

There are a few complications in case the shoulder range of motion becomes limited, says a pain doctor in Dallas. If shoulder is unable to move freely in any direction, it not only causes discomfort but also following medical complications

  • Muscle weakness leading to muscle dystrophy

  • The tissues in the surrounding shoulder underlying the skin become thick.

  • Blood supply becomes blocked that results in shorter length of muscles.

Conditions Influencing Shoulder ROM

There are certain clinical conditions that affect Shoulder Range of motion. They are as follows:

  • Arthritis

  • Tendinitis

  • Fractures

  • Strains

  • Bursitis

  • Contusion

However proper diagnosis and management is necessary to start a recovery process including customized treatment plans such as those available at the best pain doctor in Dallas. Other than physical examination, a healthcare expert can recommend tests including Ct scan, MRI, ultrasound and X-ray to estimate inner damage.


Perform all these exercises pain-free for at least 30 seconds to 1 minute, three times on both sides, to allow the fibers to release gently. If you are experiencing pain or pinching blocks while performing the exercise, then consult your local pain doctor in plano.

Your therapist may conduct a full analysis to determine the cause and help you develop a treatment plan for improving your shoulder motion while confirming you are performing all exercises appropriately.

Dr. Rao K. Ali M.D.

Dr. Rao Ali, a board-certified pain management physician, leads the clinic, which specializes in nonsurgical treatment. The physician has experience in the emergency room as well as training in pain management and rehabilitation. As a personal physician, he works with each patient to develop a treatment plan that will minimize or eliminate their pain. Providing expert diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions, Pain Management In Dallas, PA provides a comprehensive range of services. These services include neck pain, back pain, hip and knee pain, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, complex regional pain syndrome, headaches, migraines, and many others.