Exercise can be scientifically devised so that the motions of the body, with or without apparatus, will restore diseased or injured tissues to normal or nearly normal functions in many conditions. In any injury involving a joint, and these are the conditions which respond best to therapeutic exercise, there is one group of muscles which is strong and another group which is relatively weak. Taking advantage of these muscle masses we may prescribe exercises for various joints.
For the shoulder joint after injury (dislocation or fracture of one of the bones), exercises are recommended as follows in the period of convalescence:
1. The patient lying on the back with the arms at the side, the manipulator takes hold of the forearms and moves the arms outward from the body a few degrees and then returns them to the original position. In the course of time the range of motion is increased.
(Note that most of these exercises require a helper or manipulator because the muscles are at first too weak for the patient to make the motions himself.)
2. Lying face down, clasp the hands at the back of the neck and raise both elbows from the bed or table without raising the body. Raise the elbows with someone putting pressure on them.
3. Standing with the hands clasped behind the back, the fingers interlocked, the palms facing up, turn the palms in and down.
4. Shrug the shoulders.
5. Standing with the arms stretched out horizontally from the sides, move the arms in small and large circles in both directions, clockwise and anti-clockwise.
6. Standing with the arms stretched horizontally out at the sides, rotate them so that the palms are alternately up and down.
Exercises for the elbow joint after injury or disease: In most instances the elbow will have been bent, and after injury being in a splint, will be more or less fixed in the bent position.
1. Lie on the face, the forearm hanging over the edge of the table. The manipulator supports it and bends it back and forward.
2. Sitting at a table with the back of the arm resting on it, raise the forearm until the hand touches the shoulder and then bring it back. The manipulator can make resistance both in bending and restoring.
3. Sitting or standing with the arm at the side and a book in the hand, lift the book to the shoulder and bring it back.
4. Sitting with the back of the upper arm resting on a table, the elbow bent at a right angle, the palm of the hand facing the shoulder, turn the forearm until the back of the hand faces the shoulder, and vice versa.