Sleeper Stretch

Dose

Hold for 30 seconds per side. Use it when you feel your shoulder symptoms, and before going to bed.

Purpose

The muscles of the rotator cuff are often implicated in shoulder dysfunction. This exercise may help to lengthen some of these muscles and other structures in the shoulder. It can be a good symptom reliever to perform before bed if you experience pain at night.

Method

Lie on the side you want to stretch with the bottom elbow pointing directly away from you so that the bottom arm is 90 degrees from the body. Make sure the trunk is vertically aligned at 90 degrees to the ground, not rolling into a face-down or face-up position.

Bend the elbow of the bottom arm to 90 degrees so that the forearm is pointing directly upwards towards the ceiling. Use the top arm to apply pressure to the back of the bottom hand, pushing it down towards the feet. You should feel a stretch in the shoulder as you apply pressure.

You can also do this exercise while standing. Stand side on to a wall with the shoulder you want to stretch closest to the wall. Raise the close arm and place the elbow on the wall at shoulder height. Bend the elbow to 90 degrees so that the forearm points directly away from the wall.

Using the far hand, apply pressure to the back of the close hand, pushing it down towards the ground while maintaining the elbow position on the wall. You should feel a stretch in the shoulder as you apply pressure.

Common Mistakes

• Stretching too vigorously. Because of the long lever made by the forearm in this stretch, it does not take much force to achieve a stretch. For the best results, push gently with sustained pressure, rather than pushing the forearm quickly or vigorously.