Pendulum Exercise for Use with Shoulder Repair Surgeries

Stretching exercises for your shoulder, such as the pendulum exercise, can improve flexibility, increase range of motion, and reduce pain. Your healthcare provider or physical therapist has advised this exercise to help speed your healing. Make sure you breathe normally when you exercise. And try to use smooth, fluid movements.

Doing the pendulum exercise

  • Follow any special instructions you were given. If you feel pain, stop the exercise. If you keep feeling the pain after stopping, call your healthcare provider or physical therapist.

  • Start this exercise with your affected arm as soon as you are told to do so:

    • Lean over with your good arm supported on a table or chair.

    • Relax the arm on the painful side, letting it hang straight down.

    • Slowly start to swing the relaxed arm by moving your body. Move it in a circle, then reverse the direction. Next, move the arm backward and forward. Lastly, move it side to side.

    • Let gravity gently sway your arm. Do not actively lift or move it with your shoulder muscles.

    • Do the exercise  3 times a day, for 5 to 10 minutes each time, or as your healthcare provider told you to do. Change the direction of your movement after 1 minute of motion.

Home care

  • Wear your sling as directed.

  • Use pain medicine as directed by your healthcare provider.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up visit with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

Call 911

Call 911 right away if you have:

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have:

  • Fever of 100.4° F ( 38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Shaking chills

  • Growing shoulder pain

  • Pain that is not eased by medicine

  • Pain or swelling in the arm on the side of your surgery

  • Numbness, tingling, or blue-gray color of your arm or fingers on the side of your surgery

  • Increased swelling or redness around the cut (incision)

  • Drainage or oozing around the cut

Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC
Online Medical Reviewer: Kenny Turley PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Thomas N Joseph MD
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2020
© 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.