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Range of Motion Exercises

People with paralysis do not have the ability to move all the parts of their body. Therefore, it is important to perform regular range of motion exercises. 

An effective range of motion exercise program can help you avoid contractures (permanently shortened range of motion of a joint), spasticity, and pressure sores, while improving posture and trunk stability. 

Failure to exercise on a regular basis can cause joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons to stiffen. If these parts of the body stiffen, it will impact your ability to sit and maintain your posture. Lack of exercise can result in increased muscle spasms and can increase your chances of developing pressure sores. If you are not currently performing range of motion exercises, speak with your doctor, physical therapist or occupational therapist, and your caregiver about a program that will meet your needs. You and your caregiver should understand the correct way to perform each exercise to achieve the desired results and not cause injury.

Sample Range of Motion Exercises

  • Wrist, finger, thumb and elbow abductions (spreading fingers apart), flexions (bending the wrist, finger or thumb inward toward the palm) and extensions (extending the fingers, wrist, and thumb outward away from the palm)
  • Heel extensions
  • Leg rotations
  • Hip flexions and extensions
  • Straight leg raises
  • Trunk rotations and bending
  • Shoulder rotations and extensions

For a PDF of this information click here.

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Health and Wellness Tip

Laugh every day.  It can release endorphins, the healing hormones, and act as the body’s natural pain killer.  Rent a funny movie or call a friend that makes you laugh.  This can lower your blood pressure and boost your immune system.