Thousands of people annually receive surgical treatment to correct mobility issues and pain in their shoulders. Among the most common is rotator cuff surgery. Typically these invasive surgeries involve trimming away bone and other tissue to make room in the shoulder socket. When successful, these surgeries prevent further frictional irritation within the shoulder. But what if many of those surgeries were unnecessary?

Human beings share a lot of anatomic similarities to great apes. We are designed to brachiate. Brachiation (per Wikipedia) is “is a form of arboreal locomotion in which primates swing from tree limb to tree limb using only their arms.” Because we share a lot of muscular and skeletal similarities to primates, shoulder health demands that we brachiate. However, the typical western lifestyle does not incorporate this type of physical action.

Board certified orthopedic surgeon, John M Kirsch, MD in his book Shoulder Pain? The Solution and Prevention describes his journey from debilitating shoulder pain to fully mobile shoulder strength. And he got there without any surgery.

He describes in his book how a structure in the shoulder- the coracoacromial (CA) arch- has a tendency to gradually relax as we age. This can lead to devastating consequences since the CA arch can begin to interfere with the rotator cuff tendon, leading to tears and inflammation. He describes how brachiating, alongside other basic shoulder exercises, can actually train the CA arch over time- reversing its collapse into the shoulder’s internal structures.

The brachiating exercises involve hanging with palms facing on a bar that is high enough to allow the body to hang freely. All of the work in this exercise is fulfilled by grip strength. While some people will use special gloves to assist with hanging, the average person will need to practice hanging until grip strength becomes strong enough to maintain a hang for 30-60 seconds.

In between hangs, the shoulder is further strengthened by performing side, forward, and rear lateral movements (palms facing down) with light dumbbells at a high volume of repetitions. These exercises should be performed three to six days per week with each session typically lasting 20-30 minutes.

Over time, the hanging exercises will help to raise the AC arch. The assistance exercises will help to strengthen the surrounding musculature. The book features multiple testimonials of folks from varying walks of life who have found total (surgery-free) shoulder recovery. See if Dr. Kirsch’s method works for you!

For further information, his book is available on Amazon.

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