Shoulder injuries are relatively common with motor vehicle accident and sport activities. Improper management of these can lead to poor healing and potential loss of normal range of motion. A common first step is to immobilize the injured shoulder. If the arm is placed in a sling temporarily this can be a valuable step to take. If the shoulder is left in a sling for too long there is a risk for adhesive capsulitis, more commonly referred to as "Frozen Shoulder."
A common approach to treating and promoting normal range of motion is to perform “Codman's arm swing” exercises. You stand up and lean forward so you arm is hanging. Use your body to gently allow the arm to move in arm circles. Make sure that you do not use the muscles in the arm to perform this exercise. This is a passive way to promote normal range of motion in the shoulder joint.
During the repair phase of the healing process your physician will recommend a personally tailored stretching and strengthening treatment regimen. The process may start with isometric strengthening of surrounding muscles. Once strength increases and pain decreases your physician may recommend that you perform concentric and eccentric strengthening using exercise bands.