Sometimes the things we need to make our lives easier and less painful are the the simplest of devices. A pullup bar can be bought in any sports store. There are various types, and the newest style requires no drilling, screwing or adjusting.
Upper body range of motion decreases as we get older and our joints begin to naturally degenerate. This is true for joints in the spine as well as joints of extremities. It may very well be that some patients beyond the age of 50 will have difficulty getting a full motion from their shoulder joint. Because of the incredible mobility of the shoulder joint it can be susceptible to degeneration, especially in athletes who play sports where overhanded motions are used like baseball. Even in non athletes. the shoulder complex can quickly deteriorate as old age progresses.
To keep from getting conditions like frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis), a pullup bar can be the answer. Most important to note is that this is a preventative exercise and not a rehab exercise, meaning that if you have a shoulder problem it might be too late and other exercises prescribed by your PT or chiropractor may be suggested instead.
The first exercise is fairly simple but with infinite variations and no correct way. To put it simply it is just hanging from the bar with knees bent so as to not touch the ground. This hanging motion can decompress the spinal joints to a degree throughout the thoracic and lumbar spines, but just as important is the shoulder complex and the relation of all these upper torso back muscles to their respective joints.
Take time to focus your attention on areas that feel tight and gradually breathe to allow these areas to “let go” their tension.
Next hold the bar with one hand allowing the other to drop at your side. (Note: be very careful with jerking motions if you have had a previous shoulder injury such as dislocation. Hang from the one arm, but with both feet on the ground for stability. Relax and turn your body approximately 90 degree and let gravity do it’s work again. The shoulder complex has infinite positions and each position can stress different muscle groups or groups of muscle fibers. Always spend a meditative moment at any position that feels tight or could use some stretching.
In subsequent posts I will talk about more variations to this, but suffice it to say that if you don’t ever put your hands over your head, you may eventually lose the ability to do that as many elderly find their joints begin to degenerate. Added flexiblity to the spine and shoulder complex safegaurds our bodies against traumatic injuries like slip and falls, car accidents, and helps to slow down the unavoidable degeneration of joints that occurs as we age.