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After Your Surgery: Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair Pillow


After the Abductor Pillow is Discontinued (about a month after surgery)

This is a general program designed to give you an idea of what we will ask you to do after your Rotator Cuff Repair surgery to achieve the best results. Perform each for 20-30 seconds at least 4-5 times daily after your surgery. As each situation is unique, we will give you specific limits and stretches to follow after your surgery.

Shoulder Blade Mobility: Shoulder and neck pain can result in a lot of tension and pain in the muscles surrounding your shoulder blade and neck. Often this results in a shoulder that is raised in a “shrugged” position. This “shrugged” position results in greater stiffness and pain for both your neck and shoulder.

To help relax these muscles roll your shoulder blades together imagining you are squeezing a tennis ball between your shoulder blades. It is important to relax your shoulder blade and neck muscles to allow you to maintain your shoulders in this level position to reduce tension and pain.

Pendulum or Weighted Pendulum: Your arm is roughly 5% of your body weight and usually provides enough natural pull to relax your shoulder. If you’re having trouble relaxing your shoulder muscles for the pendulum a very light weight can help relax these muscles. The weight is designed to provide gentle traction on your arm to help relax your shoulder muscles. Do not lift the weight or your arm . A very light weight in the 1-3 pound range works nicely. Remember to maintain your arm as “dead weight” and not lift or move it using your own muscles. Once your arm and shoulder are relaxed start rocking back and forth from heel to toe to help get your arm swinging. Allow the momentum of the weight to help make the circles gradually larger. Done correctly this is a very comfortable exercise.

Supine Forward Flexion: We prefer to have you do this lying down because it puts gravity on your side making it easier to relax your shoulder. Leave your arm completely relaxed and elbow bent. Let gravity gradually straighten your arm. You should have the sensation of your arm being pulled over your head.

Supine External Rotation:  While you are lying down turn to your affected side (left in all these pictures).  A small pillow or rolled up towel under your other shoulder can help provide support and comfort.

Now, slowly push your wrist away from your body and hold the stretch for 20 seconds.  Bring it back and relax.

Next, gently push your arm away from your side keeping your elbow bent.

Now, push your wrist slowly while staying relaxed and hold the stretch at the end for 20 seconds.

Bring it back to neutral and relax.

Supine Internal Rotation: While maintaining the starting position from your last stretch grasp your wrist on top as shown.

Push your wrist down and hold the stretch for 20 seconds.


You’re finished! Remember to repeat these 4-5 times daily for the best results.

A video to help you with these exercises is here.

If you have comments or questions please contact us.

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