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HIIT for Improving Shoulder Function

HIIT for Improving Shoulder Function
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To restore function following a shoulder injury or surgery, it’s important for the patient to perform rehabilitative exercises.  While there are many classic exercises that are considered “standard” in rehab post-injury/surgery shoulder conditions, new research suggests that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be more effective.

High-intensity interval training is an exercise concept that is characterized by performing exercise at maximal intensity for short bursts of time followed by periods of low- or moderate-intensity activity. Studies have investigated various HIIT approaches with respect to length of time of maximum effort, rest periods, how many sets to perform during each session, and how often to engage in the exercise. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest individuals may achieve better outcomes in the long-term by mixing up their HIIT approach from time to time.

With respect to addressing the shoulder, in a 2021 study that included 21 patients with subacromial pain syndrome (SAPS), 13 were assigned to an HIIT exercise group and the rest to a usual care rehabilitative exercise group for eight weeks. Examinations conducted at the conclusion of the study period revealed that individuals in the HIIT group exhibited significant improvements in shoulder abduction endurance (by 233 seconds compared with the usual care group), shoulder pain, and shoulder disability. The HIIT group also experienced improved tendinous blood flow, as well as less pain while exercising. The authors concluded that the HIIT exercise approach results in better outcomes than usual care and that HIIT exercise is a feasible treatment approach for SAPS.

Chiropractors usually combine manual therapy with exercise training when treating patients with shoulder pain. This multi-modal treatment approach may also include various forms of physical therapy modalities such as electric stimulation, ultrasound, laser, pulsed electromagnetic field, shockwave therapy, and more.

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