Articulation: pendulum swing for the shoulder

An exercise for the shoulder joint

With shoulder pain, it’s not unusual to find that when the patient relaxes their shoulder, I can get a better range of movement than they could themselves. There are a few reasons why this happens, but the aim is to get as much movement through the week as possible. This can be difficult if you don’t have an osteopath on hand every day! The pendulum swing is a good way to mimic the movement we get during treatment.

In the example above I’m not holding anything, but holding a light weight like a tin of beans or water bottle (around 500g) can add enough of a pull to comfortably increase the range of the joint.

  1. Lean forwards and hold onto something for support so as not to put a strain on your back
  2. Let your arm go heavy and start to swing it in a circular motion or forwards/backwards and left/right
  3. The momentum of the movement should be providing a significant amount of the energy throughout the exercise. Make sure your arm remains as floppy as possible throughout the exercise

You might notice that there’s not a lot of backwards movement on account of leaning forwards. You can try lying on your back on a bed or sofa, with your shoulder hanging off the side to reach this range. You won’t be able to bring the arm towards you because of the furniture in the way, but combining a back/forwards movement in this position with the original exercise will cover most of the shoulder’s range.


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