Over-the-door shoulder pulleys are another option you may use to help improve ROM. These pulleys can help you stretch your shoulder in various directions to improve mobility—and ultimately the function—of your shoulder.
The shoulder pulley is an apparatus that's hooked over the top of a door, with a small pulley system near the top, and a rope with handles that hangs down from the pulley.
You can use the pulleys to perform various shoulder exercises to help improve ROM in different directions in your shoulder. Your physical therapist can instruct you in proper techniques to use the pulleys, so be sure to follow his instructions closely: aggressive ROM exercises too soon after surgery can injure your shoulder and delay healing. If you have questions about whether shoulder ROM exercises are safe for you, consult your doctor and physical therapist.
If your physical therapist feels that you'd benefit from home use of shoulder pulleys, you may wish to purchase a set. They're available in many sporting-goods stores and are about $20 (USD) in price. If you wish, you can also easily make your own shoulder pulley set with some simple items from your local hardware or home improvement store.
When shoulder pulley exercises become easy, your physical therapist may prescribe more advanced exercises. A typical progression from shoulder pulley ROM exercises would be to perform active ROM exercises, and finally, shoulder strengthening exercises. You should work with your doctor and physical therapist to ensure that the exercises you perform are appropriate for your specific condition.
Shoulder pain can limit your ability to use your arm normally, and can prevent you from working or participating in recreational activity. Improving your shoulder ROM may be a necessary component of your shoulder rehabilitation. Using over-the-door shoulder pulleys may be just the thing to get your shoulder moving and feeling normal again.