Arm Exerciser

Fully assembled shoulder exerciser.

Arm exerciser enables you to make your own shoulder helper for only 5 dollars.

Enabling your patients to exercise at home, after frozen shoulder treatments for example has never been easier. Make this gadget for them for only 5 dollars, or let them make it themselves; it's simple.

After successful chiropractic treatment of a rotator cuff injury it is vital to go through a series of exercises to strengthen and generally rehab the strained muscle. Fail to go through this rehabilitation and the chances are high that the pain will return again the next time you play tennis, use a heavy drill, paint the ceiling, or something that you don't do regularly. 

In our clinic we used to start with a series of simple isometric exercises, followed a couple weeks later with this commercially available arm exerciser. It retails for around 15 dollars.


Commercially available shoulder exerciser.
Homemade shoulder exerciser kit.

The only problem is that it's made with a cheap and nasty pulley which gets red hot when you are arm exercising. Then the nylon rope starts to fray and will fail.

There is a simple solution; make your own. You will need a few items.

  1. Two metres of nylon rope
  2. A moderately good pulley
  3. Two pieces of broomstick, each roughly 14cm long
  4. A short piece of cord

Maximum cost is five dollars.

  • Cut two lengths of the broomstick to about 14cm long. Using a drill press, make a hole in the centre just large enough to take your nylon cord.
  • Thread the cord through the first handle, over the pulley, and through the other handle. Make small knots on the ends.
  • Thread your other piece of cord through the hook on the pulley, about 6 inches long. Knot the end.
Shoulder exerciser handles.

Done! What could be easier than making a shoulder exerciser? I'll try and summons the energy to put a video onto YouTube.

Meantime, hook the short length of cord in the door jam, about the height of the handle with the knot on the far side of the door. It can also be placed at the top of the door to change the angle of attack. Apply the appropriate exercises according to the injury and desired effect.

Tennis elbow exercises are difficult to describe, and I need to take some photographs, and perhaps do another YouTube film.

Meantime, stretch the arm out straight in front of you, flex the wrist and fingers. Now grasp the middle finger of your naughty arm, with the other hand and stretch pull that middle finger towards you. Not out of the socket! In a bad case of tennis elbow you'll feel a painful stretch reaching up towards the elbow.

Arm exerciser

Arm exerciser is really very easy to make to help recover from injury.

Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder every chiropractor knows is a tough condition, but with judicious use of the arm exerciser, plus every known trick that the DC has in his tool box, the pain is usually halved within a month or two; full range of motion may take a year to return.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Pronator teres muscles can affect the median nerve and mimic carpal tunnel syndrome.

Some care is needed here. Underlying some cases of arm pain is a slipped disc in the neck and injudicious cervical manipulation can certainly increase the bulge.

In every case where there is pain in the arm, and slipped disc arm pain must be ruled out, I like to do both the Upper Limb Tension Test, and  that of Adson too, though I do the latter in a modified way to make it more specific.

Adson's test

Personally, I find that Adson's Test done in the classical manner is positive in many normal patients. False positives. However, it is the most useful test to confirm a suspected Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that may be causing pain and tingling in the arms and hands.

Computer Ergonomics and arm pain

Repetitive strain injury, mouse arm, pain and tingling in the hands is often simply the rest of a poor computer setup. Before any form of invasive or expensive treatment, it is always worth giving the ergonomics a thought.

Did you find this page useful? Then perhaps forward it to a suffering friend. Better still, Tweet or Face Book it.

Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

Do you have a problem that is not getting better?

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Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70 percent of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there is a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong. Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what a DC does.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my eBooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful from the life and work of a chiropractor, you will love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the amount without telling me.