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Fitness Fridays #15: What’s a Codman Pendulum Exercise and Why Should I Care?
Purpose of Codman Pendulum Exercises?
Jun 16, 2011 | By Greg Cooper, D.C.
Your shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body. Although it is a ball and socket joint like the hip, the socket is very shallow, allowing the ball to rotate through almost a 360 degree range. Because it is so mobile, the shoulder is also vulnerable to injury. When injured, according to Dr. Greg Cooper, Codman & Pendulum exercises may be recommended by a health care professional as part of therapy to relax the muscles in your shoulder, relieve pain and increase range of motion. I totally agree.
In keeping with our baseball theme since the season just began for many of us. What will happen is many players both professional and amateur will have Shoulder/Rotator Cuff problems during the season. With talk and that is all that is that someone is in great shape. A line I hear every season because someone is lifting weights all the time. Remember that throwing a baseball overhand is not a natural movement for a human to do.
As you watch the video on Fitness Fridays, take notice to the simple ways you can strengthen and increase Range of Motion in your Shoulder Joint.
Codman & Pendulum Exercises can be done in one of two ways. You can do them lying on your stomach on a therapy table with your arm and shoulder over the side, or you can do them standing/sitting (watch the video), bent forward at the waist, letting your arm hang straight toward the floor. In either case, the goal is to have your arm hanging loosely, with your shoulder blade relaxed. Start with movements in small circles- clockwise and counter clockwise and then moving your arm side to side in between your legs. Initial movements should be about 15 degrees from vertical but as you loosen up, let the movement go out to 30 degrees.
Relax the Muscles
Whenever you have a shoulder injury, there will be associated muscle spasm, even on a slight degree, to help stabilize the joint while the injury heals. Because those muscles are being used almost constantly, they grow tight and sore. Codman/Pendulum Exercises puts your shoulder in a position to allow gravity to relax the muscles by gently pulling those muscles while your arm swings.
While your arm is swinging, your body is circulating blood through the muscles and joint capsule of your shoulder. This increase in circulation helps to speed the removal of waste products and reduce soreness. Also, the circulation brings in new nutrients to your injured tissue to provide everything needed to make strong repairs.
Increase Range of Motion
A common instinct when you have a shoulder injury is to hold your shoulder still to avoid pain. However, holding it still may actually prolong your recovery process because adhesions can form while the healing is taking place that will have to be eliminated to return your shoulder to full function. Codman/Pendulum Exercises maintain range of motion during your recovery.
Enjoy Your Fitness Friday!
Dr. Joe Kasper