Stretching Exercises for the Upper Extremities

 

This article outlines basic stretches for the upper extremities. These stretches are meant to provide you with some stretching activity that can provide relief for stiffness and tightness in the muscles and joints. They can help you get ready for everyday work routines from repetitive activities like knitting and sewing to athletic competition. Basic stretching exercises are easy to perform and the results can be helpful in controlling intermittent upper extremity pain and stiffness. Performing one or two of these exercises may be very helpful to aid you in making your normal activities of daily living more comfortable.

 

Shoulder Stretching Exercises

 

Using a 1 or 2 pound weight lift the weight bending the arm and bringing the weight up toward the waist line. Start with 5 repetitions and work up to 15 reps on each side.
Stretch the sore shoulder by placing the palm of the hand on the end of a broomstick or cane with the item resting horizontal in front of you. Raise the arm on the side of the sore shoulder to a comfortable stretch. Start with a few repetitions and a 20 second hold. Add a few reps as you improve and hold for 30 seconds.
Standing with the feet about 24-30 inches back from the wall place both hands on the wall at or about ear height. Begin with 8 wall pushes by straightening the arms. Set a goal of 15-20 repetitions per session 1-2 times per day.
Stretching muscles of the upper back and shoulder. Face straight ahead and don’t turn the upper body. Stretch by pulling the arm across the chest. Hold this position for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times. Gradually increase the time to 30 seconds and 8-10 reps over the next 10 days.
This exercise stretches muscles on the back of the shoulder and upper back. Place the back of the hand on the hip and grab a hold of the elbow and pull forward. You may have to adjust the hand forward on the hip and as you improve gradually move the hand further back on the hip for more of a stretch. Hold the stretch in the beginning for 20 seconds and work up to 30 seconds and 8-10 reps.
Shoulder, upper back and side stretch. Try to place your hand over the spine and hold on to the elbow. Gradually pull back on the elbow to a comfortable stretch. Hold for 20 seconds and over the next several days work up to 30 seconds. Try to do 5 repetitions once or twice a day.

 

 

Elbow Stretches

 

Hold the back of the hand down with the wrist flexed and fingers pointing downward. The stretch should be held 20 seconds working up to 30 seconds over the next several days. Up to 3 repetitions should be helpful.
Extend the wrist with the palm facing out and the fingers pointing down and pull back on the hand. The stretch should be held 20 seconds working up to 30 seconds over the next several days. Up to 3 repetitions should be helpful.
Holding a 1 or 2 lb. weight begin with the arm extended. Bend the elbow and bring the weight up towards the shoulder. Begin with 5 repetitions and work up to 12-15 reps over several days.

 

Wrist and Hand Stretching Exercises

(See these exercises demonstrated in the video at the bottom of this article!)

 

“Prayer Stretch” is to be done with your arms close to the body at chest level and the palms together. Slowly lower your arms down keeping the palms together until you feel the stretch at the wrists and lower forearms. Hold this position for 20 seconds and gradually work up to 30 seconds over the next several days. Repeat this stretch 1-3 times per day.
Hold the back of the hand down with the wrist flexed and fingers pointing downward. The stretch should be held 20 seconds working up to 30 seconds over the next several days. Up to 3 repetitions should be helpful.
Pinch each finger to the thumb with enough pressure that a sheet of paper could not easily be pulled from your grip. This is to be performed twice daily.
Make a tight fist and hold that position for 10 seconds and then extend the fingers for 10 seconds. This exercise can be done 2 -3 repetitions twice daily.
These exercises are examples of some very basic stretching routines. There are numerous exercises and activities for each joint. The purpose of this article is to give you some basic stretches that can be of great help to provide you comfort while doing your activities of daily living or recreational pursuits. If any exercise is painful that activity should be discontinued. A slight discomfort is normal during the initial exercise period. The exercise(s) that was initially painful can be tried again in a few days after the other exercises have been performed. Should problems persist with the exercises and symptoms to the joint or muscle area continue, contact your health professional for further evaluation and treatment recommendations.

 

 

The doctors at Coon Rapids Chiropractic Office have experience in recommending exercises for various upper extremity conditions.

 

Call for an appointment today at 763-755-4300

 

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