Exercises to bring you relief during shoulder dislocation

Jun 21, 2023 | Shoulder Dislocation

1. Pendulums

This is a great exercise to help ease pain by moving the shoulder joint in a gentle way. You can use these as needed for pain relief. Start by swinging your arm by shifting your body weight in a circle for 30 seconds. The key to this exercise is RELAXING your shoulder completely in order to let the movement happen comfortably, without your shoulder muscles trying to prevent it. This can be performed 10x/day to help with pain management.

3. Flexion with a counter

Bring your hand to rest on a countertop, while you are facing the counter. Slowly back your feet up as you let your shoulder come up towards your ears. Return slowly back to the starting position. Perform 10x, three times per day.

2. Abduction with a broomstick

By grasping a broomstick in your hands, use the opposite hand to push the affected arm up and to the side slowly. Return back to the starting position slowly. Perform 10x, three times per day.

4. External rotation

Grasp a broomstick in your hands with your affected hand on the end. Use your unaffected side to push the broomstick gently out to the side, but keeping your affected side’s elbow in. Return back to the starting position. Perform 10x, three times per day.


You can create gentle muscle contraction by pushing your arm into a wall or door frame. When you’re not moving your shoulder but you have muscle contraction, that’s called an “isometric exercises”.

Here are three examples to start activating your shoulder muscles, including your rotator cuff muscles.

You can start with 5 repetitions and holding for 5 seconds each.

1. Isometric Abduction – push the outside of your elbow into the wall.

2. Isometric Internal Rotation – Start with your elbow bent to 90 degrees at your side with your thumb pointing to the ceiling. Push the palm side of your hand into a door frame.

3. Isometric External Rotation – Start with your elbow bent to 90 degrees at your side with your thumb pointing to the ceiling. Push the backside of your hand into the wall. This is the same as the video above, but with the opposite side of your hand.


Proprioception is a fancy word for your brain’s awareness of where your body is in space. Here’s one way to start working on it.

Range of Motion

At this point in your recovery, your range of motion should be nearing full. Continue to work on it daily for directions that are not yet equal to your other side.

Shoulder Alphabets

Lie on your back with your arm pointed straight up at the ceiling. Move your whole arm in order to “write” out in the air different words. The alphabet, the name of your favourite TV show, or the first 3 items on your bucket list are all good places to start. Spend about 60 seconds at a time working on this.

Long term recovery (6 weeks-3 months)

Everyone will progress at a slightly different pace. If you are still having difficulty with pain and range of motion, you may focus on less intense exercises for longer. If your strength and range of motion has returned quickly, you may be able to progress to more difficult exercises quicker.


At this point in your recovery, you can be using bands or weights to strengthen your shoulder muscles throughout their range of motion. Later in your recovery, you can work more on strengthening overhead and in diagonals across your body to strengthen your shoulder in all areas of its range of motion.

Proprioception and shoulder muscle control

As you continue to progress, you can use controlled perturbations to allow your shoulder the experience of reacting to (somewhat) unexpected forces. For example, you can hold your arm overhead and have a trusted helper apply perturbations to your arm (push you around) while you try to hold your shoulder in place. (Make sure to start with little pushes before doing big pushes!) Check out the video below!

Surgical treatment for shoulder dislocations

Some shoulder dislocations may result in the need for surgery. This is more likely when it is a traumatic injury and in younger individuals planning on returning to overhead or contact sports. One example is a Bankart repair, which is a procedure where the surgeon will repair the labrum and the joint capsule to help prevent recurring instability. Just because you had surgery, doesn’t mean that you’re off to the races the next day.

While the surgery can help stabilize the passive structures in your shoulder, it is also a trauma to your body and will require its own recovery. You can expect that you will experience range of motion limitations and strength limitations that you will need to work to improve. Your surgeon may give you specific restrictions in terms of what movements you can and can’t do, and for what time period. Each surgeon and surgery is a little different, so make sure you respect these limitations to allow the surgical area to recover. With modern techniques, most of these operations can be done using arthroscopy (small key holes and camera) that results in quicker recovery and success rates in excess of 90%.


Does it seem like there’s a lot of areas to consider in your recovery process? There is! Dr. Praveen Sarda has over 10 years experience with hundreds of operations to treat such injuries and recommends seeking out a specialist to help guide you through conservative or operative treatment as necessary for your individual condition.

Have you had a shoulder dislocation in the past that is giving you problems? Call us at +91 77420 89371 to discuss your situation! Or you can use our website www.drsarda.in to reach us for an appointment

Stay Healthy, stay positive. Modern medicine provides solutions to many shoulder problems that were historically considered untreatable!

Dr Praveen Sarda,

The highest rated musculoskeletal orthopaedic specialist in Ahmedabad.

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